Posted by Editoress on 10/8/10
Following weeks of speculation and anticipation, the Host Cities for the Amgen Tour of California professional cycling road race have been announced by race presenter AEG. The sixth annual event will cover more than 800 miles (1280 kilometres) over eight days.
The 2011 Amgen Tour of California will travel to and through 15 Host Cities throughout the state over the course of eight days from May 15-22, 2011. Last year's date change from February to May allowed the Tour de France-style road race to visit locations that would not have been possible previously, including a visit to Big Bear Lake. Due to the incredible success, the race will remain in May to provide fans with the most action-packed, exciting race possible.
The race will wind through miles of beautiful California terrain, beginning with the first-ever visit to Lake Tahoe, a well known cycling destination and home of "America's Most Beautiful Bike Ride." The eight-day race will travel through some of the state's most scenic landmarks, with the overall finish taking place in title-sponsor Amgen's hometown community of Thousand Oaks.
"Last year we witnessed the benefits of moving the Amgen Tour of California to May - better weather, a new, challenging route and more intense competition," said Andrew Messick, president of AEG Sports. "In 2011 we plan to continue to showcase the beautiful features the state of California has to offer, while also continuing to raise the bar for what it means to be the largest, most important cycling race in America."
Highlights of the 2011 route include the race's first visit to Lake Tahoe, with the first day of racing featuring a more than a lap and a half around the lake. The riders also will summit famous Donner Pass on the way to Sacramento. On the way to San Jose, America's largest cycling event will venture into the Diablo Mountains for the first of two challenging mountain stages for the world-class cyclists. The riders will once again take the beautiful Pacific Coast Highway down the coast through Big Sur. Another exciting addition to the 2011 race is the final climb up to the Mt. Baldy ski area, whose steepness and switchbacks are legendary in the Southern California cycling community.
"The 2011 Amgen Tour of California route is going to result in an exciting and compelling race," said Lance Armstrong of Team RadioShack. "All of us at Team RadioShack are looking forward to it."
With the 2011 Amgen Tour of California once again taking place in May, the cyclists will have more time to train, and the competition promises to be even tougher. In previous years, the race has drawn some of the world's most renowned and respected riders, such as top Tour de France competitors, World Champions and Olympic medalists that include Lance Armstrong, Tom Boonen, Oscar Freire, Paolo Bettini, Fabian Cancellara, Carlos Sastre, Ivan Basso, George Hincapie, Mark Cavendish and Andy Schleck.
"I was in as good of shape the past three years [when I won the Amgen Tour of California] as I am now," said Levi Leipheimer, race winner from 2007-2009, after the 2010 race. "The difference this year is that you see a couple of riders on the same level. The competition has definitely risen."
"For our team, there's only one race more important to us than the Amgen Tour of California, and that's the Tour de France. This is a huge result for us. We can really walk away from the 2010 Amgen Tour of California with big smiles on our faces," said Australian Michael Rogers of Team HTC-Columbia after winning the 2010 race.
The 2011 Amgen Tour of California will visit 15 Host Cities for official stage starts and finishes, while other cities along the route also will have the opportunity to witness the excitement of elite professional cycling. Stages for the 2011 Amgen Tour of California include:
• Stage 1: Sunday, May 15 - South Lake Tahoe to North Lake Tahoe-Northstar at Tahoe Resort
• Stage 2: Monday, May 16 - North Lake Tahoe-Squaw Valley USA to Sacramento
• Stage 3: Tuesday, May 17 - Auburn to Modesto
• Stage 4: Wednesday, May 18 - Livermore to San Jose
• Stage 5: Thursday, May 19 - Seaside to Paso Robles
• Stage 6: Friday, May 20 - Solvang Individual Time Trial
• Stage 7: Saturday, May 21 - Claremont to Mt. Baldy
• Stage 8: Sunday, May 22 - Santa Clarita to Thousand Oaks
For further information on the 2011 Amgen Tour of California, visit www.amgentourofcalifornia.com.
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