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California announces '08 host cities

Organisers of the Amgen Tour of California have announced the host start and finish cities of next year's 12 stage race. The event, which will be held from February 17-24, will visit three new areas - Modesto, Palo Alto and Pasadena - in addition to Sacramento, San Jose, San Luis Obispo, Santa Barbara, Santa Clarita, Santa Rosa, Sausalito, Seaside and Solvang.

"We are committed to making the Amgen Tour of California bigger and better every year, continuing to raise the bar for what it means to be the largest, most important cycling race in America," said the event's managing director Shawn Hunter. "From the world-class riders and aggressive and challenging competition, to the tremendous amount of support from the fans and host cities, the Amgen Tour of California has grown to become a highly anticipated event within the international cycling community in only two years. Now in our third year, fans can expect the best race yet."

The 2007 race drew more than 1.6 million spectators, setting records for a single sporting event in the state of California, as well as any cycling event ever held on U.S. soil. The 2007 race reportedly generated $100 million in economic growth for California state.

"After only two years, the Amgen Tour of California is a great race and is one of the greatest races in the world," said 2007 Levi Leipheimer (Discovery Channel) while competing in the Tour de France this week. "I think it has a good place on the calendar. More and more of the world's best want to come. I think next year we will see an even better field. I think it will just continue to grow like that."

Beginning with the Prologue in Palo Alto through the grand finale in Pasadena, the 2008 race will visit 12 host cities for official stage starts and finishes, while cities along the route will also have the opportunity to witness the excitement of elite professional cycling. Stages for the 2008 Amgen Tour of California include:

Prologue: Sunday, Feb. 17 - Palo Alto
Stage 1: Monday, Feb. 18 - Sausalito to Santa Rosa
Stage 2: Tuesday, Feb. 19 - Santa Rosa to Sacramento
Stage 3: Wednesday, Feb. 20 - Modesto to San Jose
Stage 4: Thursday, Feb. 21 - Seaside to San Luis Obispo
Stage 5: Friday, Feb. 22 - Solvang time trial
Stage 6: Saturday, Feb. 23 - Santa Barbara to Santa Clarita
Stage 7: Sunday, Feb. 24 - Santa Clarita to Pasadena road race, concluding with a circuit race in Pasadena

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