Canadian Cyclist


February 12/10 14:31 pm - Tour of California Releases Route Details

Posted by Editoress on 02/12/10

Specific route details for the 2010 Amgen Tour of California professional cycling race were revealed this week through a progression of daily video posts highlighting each of the race’s eight stages. Each of the specially produced “features” was created by Local Organizing Committees representing the 17 host cities. The fifth-annual event, which will once again have a world-class field of competitors, including three-time defending champion Levi Leipheimer and seven-time Tour de France Champion Lance Armstrong, will take place over eight consecutive days from May 16-23.

Considered cycling’s most important and successful stage race in the United States, the 2010 Amgen Tour of California will travel along a more than 800-mile course from Nevada City to Thousand Oaks, title-sponsor Amgen’s hometown community. Host cities for the eight stages include: Nevada City (new city for 2010), Sacramento, Davis, Santa Rosa, San Francisco, Santa Cruz, San Jose, Modesto, Visalia, Bakersfield (new city for 2010), Pasadena, Big Bear Lake (new city for 2010), Los Angeles (new city for 2010) and Thousand Oaks/Westlake Village (new city for 2010)/Agoura Hills (new city for 2010).

This week, eight videos created by the host cities were released via the Amgen Tour of California Web site, Facebook and YouTube to reveal the specific route details of each stage. Showcasing the race’s start and finish communities, the creative and distinctive videos highlight the unique features of each stage, including the scenic California coastline, the legendary Santa Cruz Beach Boardwalk, picturesque Big Bear Lake and the historical landmarks of downtown Los Angeles.

“To build upon the innovative history of the Amgen Tour of California, we decided that the best way to communicate the beauty and uniqueness of our route was to create short videos of each stage, essentially generating a ‘travelogue’ of the race,” said Andrew Messick, president of AEG Sports, presenter of the race. “Every year we look to enhance the race route to create a challenging course for the cyclists, as well as showcase the state of California. By providing the host cities with the opportunity to create their own videos, fans will be able to experience the distinctive perspective of the local community.”

One of the most anticipated professional cycling races in the world, the 2010 Amgen Tour of California will be staged over a challenging route showcasing some of the state’s most scenic and historical areas. Highlights of the 2010 Amgen Tour of California race route include:

Stage 1: Nevada City to Sacramento (Sunday, May 16)

The 2010 Amgen Tour of California will begin with the first-ever visit to the picturesque town of Nevada City, Calif., which also will be celebrating the 50th anniversary of the Nevada City Classic, in which many notable riders got their start. From there, the riders will head south en route to Sacramento, traveling through Grass Valley and Old Town in Auburn. Heading out of Auburn, the cyclists will cross over the Auburn-Foresthill Bridge – the tallest bridge in California and the third highest in the U.S. A mostly downhill stage, which will certainly favor the sprinters, will be abruptly interrupted by a grueling climb from the American River to the town of Cool. Sacramento streets will once again see the teams finish with three blistering fast circuits around the State’s Capitol building.

Stage 2: Davis to Santa Rosa (Monday, May 17)

The 2010 Amgen Tour of California route from Davis to Santa Rosa will provide plenty of scenic settings for both the cyclists and spectators. Beginning in the city of Davis, which recently was named the best cycling town in the United States by Bicycling Magazine, the route includes evenly spaced climbs throughout the stage and spectacular views. After 20 miles of flat roads, the riders will meet their first climb up a short, but steep section leading up to the Monticello Dam. This short climb is followed quickly by the difficult “Cardiac Hill.” Another long, flat section along Lake Berryessa will take the riders to their third climb up Howell Mountain Rd., followed by a fast descent into Napa Valley. The race will pass some of the most well-known vineyards in Napa Valley along the famous Silverado Trail. After the day’s final climb up the Oakville Grade, followed by a steep descent down Trinity Grade, the cyclists will finish the race in the hometown three-time defending champion Levi Leipheimer – Santa Rosa. In previous years, Santa Rosa fans have set the mark for one of the largest and most enthusiastic crowds of the entire race.

Stage 3: San Francisco to Santa Cruz (Tuesday, May 18)

Starting at Ocean Beach, Stage 3 will cover nearly 120 miles from San Francisco, which hosted the Prologue for the inaugural year of the Amgen Tour of California, to Santa Cruz. The route will take the riders south down the California coastline on Highway 1, flanked by the picturesque backdrops of the Pacific Ocean on one side and Redwood forests on the other. This coastal stage will include three long, but moderate climbs on Tunitas Creek Rd., La Honda Rd. and Bonny Doon Rd., which will all be followed by lengthy and fast descents. The sprint to the finish will follow W. Cliff Dr. along Monterey Bay to an exhilarating conclusion to Stage 3 at the world famous Santa Cruz Beach Boardwalk.

Stage 4: San Jose to Modesto (Wednesday, May 19)

Fans of the Amgen Tour of California may recognize part of Stage 4 from the 2009 race when the cyclists traveled from San Jose to Modesto; however, in 2010, the racers will encounter a longer and more challenging route. Beginning with a climb that is synonymous with cycling and the Amgen Tour of California, the cyclists will head up Sierra Rd. (1,930 ft.) within the first five miles of the stage. This epic climb is destined to be a defining moment in this year’s race. After completing the Sierra Rd. climb, the riders will face fast and flat roads full of twists and turns (Calaveras Rd. alone has more than 40 switchbacks) before visiting downtown Livermore for the first time. The peloton will then turn on to the very difficult Mines Rd., where the riders will face nearly 30 miles of a narrow, twisting road, climbing most of the way before a long descent into Patterson. For the second consecutive year, the stage will finish with two circuits in downtown Modesto.

Stage 5: Visalia to Bakersfield (Thursday, May 20)

The Amgen Tour of California returns to Visalia for the start of Stage 5, a stage that will take the riders through the heart of California’s San Joaquin Valley and into the foothills of the Sierra Nevada Mountains. After departing Visalia, the race will head due south through the towns of Exeter and Lindsay. Just south of Porterville, the route heads further inland and tackles the narrow and twisty Old Stage Rd. into the town of Woody. Continuing on to Bakersfield, the route heads into the Kern River oil field, the fifth largest in the United States, where the riders will encounter several short, steep climbs. From the apex of the final climb, the cyclists will be able to look down onto the finish at Bakersfield College. The final obstacle is a 10 percent climb up China Grade, part of two finishing circuits in Bakersfield.

Stage 6: Pasadena to Big Bear Lake (Friday, May 21)

Pasadena City Hall will serve as the backdrop for the most difficult stage the cyclists have faced in the five-year history of the Amgen Tour of California. After crossing the Colorado St. Bridge and passing by the Rose Bowl, the route will wind through the City of La Cañada Flintridge. From there, the riders continue on a 135-mile odyssey with more than 12,000 ft. of climbing. The race will climb to a high point of nearly 8,000 ft. as it rolls along the Angeles Crest Highway. Then, there is a brief respite as they descend to Wrightwood and over to Highway 138. The route again goes vertical as it passes through Crestline and Lake Arrowhead, as the cyclists take to the “Rim of the World” highway. Entering the Big Bear area, the riders will take the northern route around Big Bear Lake and then tackle the last ascent to the finish at a more than 7,000-foot elevation at the Snow Summit ski area for the Amgen Tour of California’s first-ever mountaintop finish.

Stage 7: Los Angeles Individual Time Trial (Saturday, May 22)

The Amgen Tour of California descends on the City of Angels in Stage 7 with the 21-mile individual time trial. Los Angeles plays host to a course that is filled with several of the city’s most recognizable landmarks. Each rider will leave L.A. LIVE and complete two laps of the 10.5-mile circuit around downtown Los Angeles. Heading south for the first half of the circuit, the riders will pass by the Los Angeles Convention Center, the University of Southern California, Exposition Park and the LA Coliseum. The route will then head back north for the second half of the circuit and will include two short, but steep climbs while passing several downtown Los Angeles icons, including the Millennium Biltmore Hotel, Walt Disney Concert Hall, Cathedral of Our Lady of the Angels and Los Angeles City Hall, before returning to the finish area at L.A. LIVE. This stage could set an all-time attendance record for spectators.

Stage 8: Thousand Oaks/Westlake Village/Agoura Hills Circuit Race (Sunday, May 23)

There is nothing easy about the 2010 Amgen Tour of California, and Stage 8 will be the exclamation point for this year’s race. Starting at the upscale “The Oaks” shopping complex, the riders will roll neutral to the start of four 21-mile circuits. The cities of Thousand Oaks, Westlake Village and Agoura Hills host the final 84 miles of the 2010 Amgen Tour of California, which finishes in the worldwide headquarter community of title sponsor Amgen. What starts as a beautiful rolling stage gets a bit challenging at Mulholland Highway. Long regarded as one of the most scenic climbs in southern California, and a favorite haunt of motorcyclists, Mulholland Highway features steep climbs and numerous switchbacks, making it a great place for spectators. As the riders pass the Malibu Family Winery, they will start a twisting and technical descent on Westlake Blvd. In less than an hour, the riders will be back at the finish line and bracing themselves for three more laps. If ever there was a chance to see a change in the leader and sprint jerseys, it will be here.

For more information about the Amgen Tour of California and to view the stage videos, please visit


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