Here are a few of our picks for who to watch out for as the race continues this week:
via Cannondale Pro Cycling
This sort of feels like a given. Of course Sagan is someone to watch this year. Sagan's the all-time Tour of California stage-win leader, having crossed the line first eight times in just the last three years—and just last year he won five stages. So definitely keep an eye out for the Slovakian phenom in the green Cannondale jersey.
We love Jens. We love the things he says. We love the way he rides. The 41-year-old is still racing and shows no signs of slowing down. At last year's Tour of California, he came in second in the fifth stage, and at the Tour de France, he finished third in the tenth stage. It'll be fun to see how the RadioShack-Leopard Trek rider does this week.
|Tejay van Garderen,|
via BMC Pro Cycling
So far this season, Tejay van Garderen has had podium finishes at two races, coming in second in the Tour de San Luis and third in the Criterium International. Last year, he came in fifth at the Tour de France to take the Best Young Rider's jersey. But the winner's circle at the Tour of California has thus far eluded the 24-year-old. Is this the year he finally takes home the win? We'll just have to wait and see.
The last time Michael Rogers raced in the Tour of California (2010), he won, finishing just nine seconds before Garmin's David Zabriskie. The 33-year-old should prove to be a strong contender this time around.
Francisco Mancebo, 37, has been riding strong since he began racing in 1998. The former Spanish national champion finished third in the Tour of the Gila in New Mexico, winning the very difficult Gila Monster stage. He also won the Redlands Bicycle Classic in April and then took second in the Vuelta a Castilla y Leon.
Though this is Westra's first United States race, he's doing pretty well already, what with his first stage win on Sunday. The 30-year-old Dutch cyclist placed second overall in the Paris-Nice race last year and he's likely to continue to do well this week.