Amgen Tour of California host cities announced, route taking shape
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Thursday, November 3, 2011

Amgen Tour of California host cities announced, route taking shape

by VeloNation Press at 9:03 AM EST   comments
Categories: Pro Cycling, Tour of California
Start in Santa Rosa, will visit Big Bear lake and Monty Baldy before finish in Los Angeles

Chris HornerSix months prior to the start of the 2012 Amgen Tour of California, race organisers today announced thirteen host cities for next year’s edition of the race, effectively providing an outline of the course profile for the event.

The race will begin in three-time champion Levi Leipheimer’s hometown of Santa Rosa on May 13th, with the following day’s stage running from San Francisco to Santa Cruz County. San Jose will once again host the American 2.HC event, being the start venue for stage three’s leg to Livermore. Sonora then makes its debut in the race on stage four, with the stage taking in a number of climbs before finishing in Clovis.

Day five is an individual time trial in Bakersfield and there riders like defending champion Chris Horner, Leipeheimer and others will aim to open gaps over their rivals. Just three stages remain after that point and a strong performance will be crucial in determining the final overall standings.

Those in contention will clash on the climbs of stage six, which travels from Palmdale to Big Bear Lake, where Michael Rogers made his move for race glory a year and a half ago. The big mountain showdown will however come the following day, when stage seven travels from the new venue of Ontario to Mount Baldy, adding ten miles to this year’s distance and setting things up for a major battle on the climb up to the finish line.

Horner and Leipheimer dropped the other contenders there this year, ensuring their final one-two in the event.

Whoever is in the race lead at that point will be looking good for victory as the final stage will be a circuit race in Los Angeles and the LA Live district.

Riders looking forward to 2012 event:

Defending champion Horner is yet to finalise his 2012 schedule but said that he will be back to compete once again in the event next year. “This race is special because it takes place in one of the most beautiful places in the world, California,” he said. “The host cities are always so welcoming and the crowds are always great, not to mention that they provide some of the toughest racing terrain around! I’m looking forward to racing in California again and defending my title in 2012.”

One of those he will likely be up against is Garmin-Cervélo rider Christian Vande Velde. He has competed in the Giro in the past but switched to the American race last year as his pre-Tour preparation, finishing fourth. He was pleased with his choice, and will be keen to return.

“Everyone always looks forward to the Amgen Tour of California because it has it all – a challenging route, fierce competition, incredible fans and a beautiful setting,” he stated. “I feel proud to be an American cyclist right now, when events like this race not only showcase the great racing that takes place here, but the amazing talent as well.”

Triple champion Leipheimer had to be content with second behind Horner this year. He said that he was proude that the race would again return to Santa Rosa next year, saying it gives his home town a chance to show off to the world.

“I’m looking forward to introducing some of the best cyclists in the world to some of the best cycling in the world – right here in my back yard,” he stated. “The 2012 Amgen Tour of California will be a hard fought battle as we march away from Santa Rosa towards the mighty Mt Baldy.”

High interest in hosting Californian tour:

In what is a major show of confidence for the race, organisers stated that they had over 100 submissions from cities and towns hoping to host the event in 2012. This was eventually narrowed down to the 13 successful venues named today, with those providing the backbone to a route which will total more than 750 miles.

Kristin Bachochin, the new executive director of the race, explained the process in deciding the course and, therefore, the various start and finish locations. “Our goal for the Amgen Tour of California has always been to create a route that not only provides a challenging race for the world’s top cyclists, but one that highlights the beauty and diverse terrain that make up the great state of California as well,” she said.

“Every year we challenge ourselves to raise the bar once again and create a route more challenging than the last, but that’s the great thing about planning a race in California, there is so much from which we can choose. From epic climbs to fast and flat stages to rolling hills and thrilling finishes by the sea, California has it all.”

The race will once again be sponsored by Amgen, making it the seventh consecutive year that the firm has been the main backer.

2012 Amgen Tour of California:

Stage 1: Sunday, May 13 – Santa Rosa
Stage 2: Monday, May 14 – San Francisco to Santa Cruz County
Stage 3: Tuesday, May 15 – San Jose to Livermore
Stage 4: Wednesday, May 16 – Sonora (new for 2012) to Clovis
Stage 5: Thursday, May 17 – Bakersfield (Individual Time Trial)
Stage 6: Friday, May 18 – Palmdale to Big Bear Lake
Stage 7: Saturday, May 19 – Ontario (new for 2012) to Mt. Baldy
Stage 8: Sunday, May 20 – Los Angeles/L.A. Live


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