The Amgen Tour of California is the biggest bicycle race in North America. Patterned after the famous Tour de France, which began in 1903, the ninth annual Tour of California is relatively new. Like its French forebear, it is segmented into stages on public roads that include different terrains to challenge the riders. Urban and countryside, flat and mountainous, wide and narrow, the changing conditions require different riding skills.
This year there are eight stages, beginning in Sacramento on May 11 and ending 720 miles later in Thousand Oaks on May 18. The competition will be intense as 16 of the world’s elite cycling teams and 128 international professional riders compete for overall and special titles. The entire week of racing will be televised and shown internationally.
On Sunday morning, May 11, at approximately 10:50 a.m., the riders will leave the Sacramento Capitol to begin a 120-mile race. The riders will pedal to Lincoln for the first sprint of the tourThe second sprint will be in Auburn. The third sprint will be in Cool. This sprint will be especially challenging as the first three racers to climb the American River canyon and enter Cool will win points in the King of the Mountain category.
The tour will continue south on Highway 49, down Salmon Falls Road to El Dorado Hills where it will take Green Valley Road east, then Silva Valley Parkway south to White Rock Road, and return to the Capitol.
Folsom is the host city for Stage 2, on Monday, May 12. This stage is a test of speed in time trials over a flat course. The race starts on Sutter Street and ends on Leidesdorff Street in the Folsom Historical District. The men racers begin at 1:05 p.m. The entire course is 12.5 miles.
A Lifestyle Festival near the railroad turntable will provide food, activities and entertainment from 10 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. The awards ceremony is scheduled for 3:55 p.m. The awards are specially designed by a local artist.
More information is available at amgentourofcalifornia.com.