Team CSC cyclists take a practice ride earlier this week. They will be competing in the Tour of California from Feb. 17-24.

Team CCS riders are training in the area for two weeks
Gilroy – For those who think they have seen more cyclists on the area roads recently, it is no illusion.

Team CSC riders are in the midst of a two-week stay in which they are training for the upcoming Amgen Tour of California. The 650-mile, eight-stage race starts Feb. 18 in San Francisco and finishes Feb. 25 in Long Beach.

“In terms of training, the area is perfect,” said Brian Nygaard, press officer for Team CSC. “There is a vast variety of landscape so we get all types of terrain and climbs.

“There is not a lot of traffic so that is good. It seems like people are not used to seeing (cyclists). But they have been really nice to us.”

This is the second Tour of California. Team CSC is the defending champion. But the field is loaded with some of the strongest riders in the world, including the Discovery Channel Pro Cycling Team that was formerly known as the U.S. Postal Service Professional Cycling Team. Under the original name, the team won the Tour de France seven times with Lance Armstrong.

Among the 29 Team CSC members (and six sports directors) are Americans Dave Zabriskie and Bobby Julich, who finished second and third, respectively, in last year’s Tour of California behind Floyd Landis.

Landis went on to win the 2006 Tour de France, a result that is still being contested because of a positive doping test. Landis had hip-replacement surgery last September and is not racing.

Team CSC has done training rides to Mt. Hamilton and Mt. Madonna, as well as several rides over Hecker Pass.

“It’s pretty centrally located,” Nygaard said of the Gilroy area. “You’re close to San Francisco and you’re close to the coast. We’ve been able to find some pretty good routes.”

Nygaard said that the riders enjoy training in California. Unlike in certain countries of Europe where cycling is the biggest sport and the athletes are treated like rock stars, here they are able to get their training done without too many distractions.

“It’s like baseball in Norway,” Nygaard said, using an analogy. “In the U.S., most people do cycling for health and fun. So it’s very relaxing for the guys to be in California.”

Of the 29 team members, there are 17 different countries represented on Team CSC. The team is based out of Denmark. But CSC (Computer Sciences Corporation), a leading global information technology services company, is headquartered in El Segundo.

The Tour of California is considered the top stage race in the country. It uses a format similar to the Tour de France. The race starts with individual time trials in San Francisco. It then has stages from Sausalito to Santa Rosa, Santa Rosa to Sacramento, Stockton to San Jose, Seaside to San Luis Obispo, Solvang, Santa Barbara to Santa Clarita, and Long Beach.

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A staff member wrote, edited or posted this article, which may include information provided by one or more third parties.


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