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Steep Climb 

Will the doping scandal affect public interest in America's biggest bike race?

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WHO TO WATCH

Andy Schleck This 27-year-old 2010 Tour de France winner broke his sacrum in a crash in 2012 and hopes to finish strong for team RadioShack Leopard in the ToC this year.

Peter Sagan He won five stages in last year's ToC, including Santa Rosa's starting leg, and has won eight legs of the race in his career. The 23-year-old from Slovakia is currently hailed as the world's No. 2 cyclist.

Jens Voigt The legendary German rider is now in his 40s but can still put the pedal to the metal—er, the foot to the pedal. This tough rider doesn't make excuses and is always a force to be reckoned with.

Tejay van Garderen The American rider finished fifth in last year's Tour de France, fourth in the ToC and was named the Best Young Rider of the race. He's been called a clear favorite to win this year's race for BMC of Santa Rosa.

Jeremy Vennell This Santa Rosa rider was honored last year as the ToC's most aggressive rider, and reports say he has been riding well in his training courses.

Michael Torckler Another Santa Rosa local, he was seriously injured in a hit-and-run accident while riding on the notoriously steep Pine Flat Road in Geyserville. He found out the night before the ToC began that he would be riding in the 750-mile race.

Ryan Eastman A 20-year-old Petaluman on the Bontrager team, this is already his second year riding in the ToC.

THE AFTERPARTY

Meet the RadioShack Leopard and Bontrager U23 team, including Andy Schleck, Jens Voigt and Axel Merckx. Q&A and autograph session. Proceeds benefit the Sonoma County Bicycle Coalition. Trek Bicycle Store, 512 Mendocino Ave. 4pm. $20–$25, includes one beer and appetizers. 707.546.8735.

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