2012 Amgen Tour of California route announced

AEG, presenter of the Amgen Tour of California, has today confirmed the 13 official host cities for the 2012 race, incorporating the two queen stages of the past two editions in one year, with finishes at Big Bear ski resort and Mt. Baldy.

The seventh consecutive edition of the Amgen Tour of California will travel more than 750 miles between May 13–20, 2012, incorporating starts in major cities such as San Francisco, San Jose and Los Angeles with new host towns Sonora and Ontario.

Gone is the Solvang time trial, which is replaced with a stage five test in Bakersfield. Solvang's local organising committee last month was reconsidering its bid due to financial issues.

The race returns to San Francisco after a one year hiatus, retracing its steps to Santa Cruz, with likely passage of the Bonny Doon climb which propelled Levi Leipheimer to victory that year.

Reversing its direction from previous years, it then heads inland to San Jose for a stage to Livermore, which could take in the Sierra Road and Mt. Hamilton climbs.

The course then heads into the foothills of the Sierra Nevada mountains for a start in Sonora, a new host city, heading south to Clovis. Riders then transfer 120 miles to Bakersfield for the time trial before heading into the Angeles National Forest for two mountainous stages. The race concludes with a circuit in downtown Los Angeles.

“This race is special because it takes place in one of the most beautiful places in the world – California,” said Chris Horner, 2011 Amgen Tour of California Champion. “The host cities are always so welcoming and the crowds are always great, not to mention, they provide some of the toughest racing terrain around. I’m looking forward to racing in California again and defending my title in 2012.”

The Amgen Tour of California continues to draw global attention as one of the most anticipated cycling events of the year – one that attracts Olympic medalists, world champions and the top Tour de France competitors from all over the globe.

“Everyone always looks forward to the Tour of California because it has it all – a challenging route, fierce competition, incredible fans and a beautiful setting,” said Christian Vande Velde, who placed fourth overall in 2011. “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.”

The 13 Host Cities for the 2012 Amgen Tour of California include:

• 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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