The host cities for the record-setting Amgen Tour of California professional cycling road race were announced this morning via a Twitter exchange that took place shortly before 9 a.m. PT between Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger and some of America’s most accomplished cyclists, including Lance Armstrong, Levi Leipheimer, Dave Zabriskie and George Hincapie.
Along with the overall announcement of the race, the four cyclists also revealed their intentions to participate in the fifth-annual event, considered to be America’s most important and prestigious cycling race.
Seven-time Tour de France winner Lance Armstrong’s announcement of his intent to compete in the fifth-annual race was met with enthusiasm from race organizers and fans. After mounting an incredible comeback to professional cycling in 2009, competing in the Amgen Tour of California and other top races around the world, including finishing third in the 2009 Tour de France, Armstrong will start the 2010 season on his newly formed Team RadioShack. Returning to the Amgen Tour of California for the second consecutive year, Armstrong is expected to be a top competitor in the race.
The 2010 Amgen Tour of California will travel to 16 host cities throughout the state over the course of eight days from May 16-23. After four years of being positioned in February, the date change will allow the Tour de France-style road race to visit locations that wouldn’t have been possible in February, including the very first mountain-top finish in race history.
The Amgen Tour of California will cover more than 750 miles of beautiful California terrain, beginning with the first ever visit to Nevada City, Calif., which will also be celebrating the 50th anniversary of the Nevada City Classic, in which many notable riders got their start. 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.
The 16 official stage start and finish locations that have been selected for the 2010 race 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 2009) and Thousand Oaks/Westlake Village (new city for 2010)/Agoura Hills (new city for 2010).
“For the 2010 Amgen Tour of California we had the unique opportunity to move our race to a part of the year when we are almost guaranteed great weather in California,” said Andrew Messick, president of AEG Sports. “This timing will help us to better showcase the beautiful features the state of California has to offer, while allowing us to travel to parts of the state that just weren’t feasible in previous years.”
Highlights of the route brought on by the date change and new host cities include the race’s first venture into the Sierras and the Sequoia National Forest, creating a new backdrop for America’s largest cycling event. Another exciting addition to the 2010 race, the first-ever mountaintop finish in Big Bear Lake, will give fans the opportunity to see each and every cyclist in a grueling battle to the Stage 6 finish line.
For the first time in the race’s storied five-year history the route will travel through the city of Los Angeles. Stage 7, the individual time trial, a significant stage in the race, will take place in the heart of downtown Los Angeles. The stage will both begin and end at L.A. LIVE, the new sports and entertainment district that is home to Staples Center, Nokia Theatre and L.A. LIVE