The 2012 Amgen Tour of California begins Sunday, and the ranks of Optum Pro Cycling contain two cyclists with local connections. Scott Zwizanski, from West Chester, PA, rides a strong time trial and has the ability to suffer in the aerodynamic tuck position for far longer than most. Mike Friedman, from Pittsburgh, has good tactical sense and isn't afraid to ride aggressively. That will come in handy at the ToC, as the smaller, less experienced teams sometimes need to make bold moves to make sure people notice them.
Optum Pro Cycling is a continental level cycling team originally formed in 2007. With a balanced roster of young riders, the team has seen success around the world. They have UCI stage race victories on four different continents, they have won the USPRO Criterium Championship and podium spots at the USPRO Road Race and Time Trial championships. They are one of very few Continental teams to win a stage of a major American UCI race. That victory came from Jesse Anthony, a strong climber who will have an eye on stage victories in the Tour of Calfornia. He'll have his work cut out for him; the best the team has ever done in the ToC is a 5th place finish in a 2011 stage. Ken Hanson is another strong rider for the team, look for him in sprint finishes. More information on the rest of the Optum roster can be found at their official website.
All your cycling news and information needs can be satisfied at SB Nation's cycling blog Podium Cafe.