The Amgen Tour of California begins at 10:50 a.m. Sunday at the state Capitol in downtown Sacramento with a 123-mile ride that will take riders on a loop along the Sacramento River, then up to Auburn and back downtown.
Sunday’s segment is the first of eight, with the second segment to loop through Folsom on Monday. The race winds south through California, and culminates next Sunday in Thousand Oaks after covering 740 miles of cycling.
The race is returning to Sacramento after a two-year absence. Previously, Sacramento hosted portions of the event from 2007 through 2011, drawing thousands of fans, cyclists and some of the world’s most accomplished riders.
Sunday’s race begins and ends at 11th and L streets, and is expected to last through midafternoon, with riders gaining 3,900 feet in elevation before returning to the Capitol.
Monday’s event is a 12.5-mile time trial in Folsom that begins at 11:10 a.m. for women riders and 1:05 p.m. for men.
How to take part
Sunday’s events include a chance for the public to participate, with a festival opening at 9:30 a.m. on 10th Street between L and M streets that will include vendors offering cycling items for sale.
Opening ceremonies begin at 10:30 a.m. on L Street near Ninth Street, with the overall start scheduled for 10:50 a.m. Women riders will participate in their own segment at noon riding around the Capitol grounds.
A community ride scheduled on the Amgen route downtown is set to begin at 1:30 p.m. The Sutter Health Community Ride is sponsored by the Sacramento Sports Commission, which is asking participants to meet at 1 p.m. at 13th and L streets in Sacramento. That ride will loop around the state Capitol grounds.
How to watch Sunday
The premier spot for watching the race Sunday will be at the state Capitol, where the race begins and ends. The end segment, expected to return to downtown by about 3 p.m. Sunday, will include riders looping around the Capitol grounds three times, providing plenty of viewing opportunities.
Organizers say the best viewing location is on either side of L Street near 12th and 13th streets, where spectators can watch as the riders sprint toward the finish line at 11th Street.
Elsewhere along the race course, viewing will be brief because the peloton moves by in a matter of seconds. Finding a spot atop a hill along the course provides a better chance of watching the riders sprinting uphill.
Because of street closures Saturday and Sunday, officials are urging spectators to ride bicycles or use city parking garages if they drive. L Street is closed Saturday between Ninth and 12th streets all day.
Closures on Sunday include L Street from Ninthto 15th streets and N Street from Ninth to 15th streets. Other streets in the area also will be closed for the race.\
Sunday’s stage 1 route
How to watch Monday
Monday’s event is a 12.5-mile time trial that begins and ends in Folsom’s historic district. The starting line is at Sutter Street between Wool and Riley, with 50 amateur riders starting the event at 10 a.m. and leaving the start line in one-minute intervals.
Twenty professional female riders will begin racing at one-minute intervals, starting at 11:10 a.m. The 128 professional male riders begin at 1:05 p.m. at one-minute intervals.
Folsom officials expect large crowds at the starting line and the finish line, which is at Leidesdorff Street before Wool Street.
Other suggested viewing spots include:
• Either side of the Rainbow Bridge, which riders will use to cross the American River. Officials ask that spectators stay off the bridge for safety reasons.
• The Folsom Lake Crossing Bridge.
• The upstream side of the Lake Natoma Crossing.
• The turnaround spot on Green Valley Road near the county line.
• East Natoma between Folsom Lake Crossing and Green Valley roads.
Folsom officials say the course from old town up to Green Valley Road will be open during rush hour, but will be closed from 9 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. Monday. Additional information is available at www.folsom.ca.us.
Monday’s stage 2 route
How to watch from afar
If you can’t make it downtown for the start or finish of Sunday’s segment, Amgen officials are making it easy to watch the race on television or via the Internet.
Fans can download Amgen’s Tour Tracker app for iPhone, iPad or Android devices for free and follow the entire race.
The last two hours of each day’s event also will be broadcast on the NBC Sports Network. In the Sacramento area, the network is available on Comcast on channels 65 and 723, Surewest channels 128 and 628, AT&T channels 640 and 1640, DirectTV channel 220 and Dish Network channels 159 and 9466.
At sacbee.com, coverage of the first two days of the event will include live blogs beginning at 8:30 a.m. Sunday and 10 a.m. Monday. They will feature Twitter and video reports from the scene by The Bee’s reporting and visual teams, with race updates and results, and a general sense of the crowd scene and community impact. Also included are feeds from all teams competing in the race, as well as other cycling publications. Key hashtags are: #TourofCali, #ATOC2014 and #AmgenTourofCali.
More information is available at http://amgentourofcalifornia.com.
Riders to watch
The Amgen Tour of California bills itself as “America’s Greatest Race” and features some of the most accomplished riders in the world. The field of 128 riders from 16 teams includes 21 riders who have previously won stages in other Grand Tours, including the Tour de France.
Riders compete for the best time in each stage, and the overall winner at the end is the rider with the lowest cumulative time from all eight stages. Riders of note include:
• Bradley Wiggins, 34, the leader of Team Sky who in 2012 became the first British rider to win the Tour de France, the same year he won an Olympic gold medal.
• Peter Sagan, 24, a Slovakian rider who has won a record 10 stages in previous Tour of California races and is a member of the Cannondale team.
• Mark Cavendish, 28, a British rider who has won 25 stages of the Tour de France and rides for the Omega Pharma-Quick Step Cycling team.
Call The Bee’s Sam Stanton, (916) 321-1091.