The Amgen Tour of California will return to the Sacramento region in May for a third straight year, but the cyclists will be here later and more fatigued than usual.
After hosting the race start in 2014 and this year, officials announced Thursday the capital city will stage the final day of the 2016 men’s eight-day event and the final day of the women’s four-day competition, both May 22.
“We are very excited to host the final stage … in Sacramento for the first time in race history,” Mike Sophia, director of the Sacramento Sports Commission, said in a statement. “While we have seen great stage finishes in Sacramento every year, we can’t wait to see the peloton sprinting for both the stage win and the Tour win.”
The race’s 11th edition will get underway May 15 with a road race beginning and ending near Mission Bay in San Diego. The route will move south to north for only the second time and the estimated 750-mile men’s trek will arrive in Northern California for its final four stages. All four stages of the women’s race also will be in Northern California.
Following the stage four finish on the racetrack at the Laguna Seca Recreation Area in Salinas, stage five will take cyclists from Lodi to South Lake Tahoe. The women’s race will begin on the same day with a road race in South Lake Tahoe.
I had heard about the finish in Sacramento, but not about the time trial in Folsom. Riding in your hometown area on courses you know and in front of family and friends, that’s cool. Cyclist Evan Huffman of El Dorado Hills
The men’s sixth stage, an individual time trial, and the women’s section stage, a team time trial, will be in Folsom.
“I had heard about the finish in Sacramento, but not about the time trial in Folsom,” said Evan Huffman of El Dorado Hills, who finished 50th this year in the 121-rider men’s field while riding for the now-defunct SmartStop team. “Riding in your hometown area on courses you know and in front of family and friends, that’s cool.”
Sacramento will be involved in the event for the eighth time. Stage distances and other logistics have not be finalized, but the men’s and women’s stages in Sacramento are expected to conclude with short loops around the Capitol, with an early afternoon finish near the downtown Hyatt Regency.
Teams and rosters aren’t announced until a few weeks before the event, but Sir Bradley Wiggins of Great Britain, the 2014 Tour of California titlist and 2012 Tour de France winner, is expected to compete in 2016.
“The Amgen Tour of California brings the perfect combination of stellar competition, amazing scenery and superior organization,” Wiggins said in a statement. “I look forward to returning to the Amgen Tour of California with Team Wiggins to once again take on the top competitors in the sport.”
Wiggins took the Tour of California lead in 2014 with a dominating time trial win in Folsom and won the race six days later by 30 seconds over Rohan Dennis of Australia.
Peter Sagan of Slovakia, riding for Tinkoff Saxo, won this year’s Tour of California by 3 seconds, the race’s closest finish. Trixi Worrack (Velocio-SRAM) of Germany won the women’s title by 5 seconds.
Next year’s women’s race, which was expanded to three days this year, will be part of a new global series, the UCI Women’s WorldTour. The circuit will include multiday and single-day races in several countries. The Tour of California will be the first of only two women’s events in the United States.
“I think the four days now is obviously a step up and the increase to three days this year was pretty fantastic,” said Robin Farina of Nevada City, the former national road titlist who was 25th overall this year in the 61-rider women’s race for the BMW team. “What I am calling the Sacramento stage is a sleigh ride. A lot of riders who are used to flatter races will be able to fit into that stage. I always hope for it to be more aggressive and every year and we race aggressively. It’s just a really hard course to get away on.”
Amgen Tour of California 2016
- Stage 1: May 15, San Diego; start and finish on the water near Mission Bay and downtown
- Stage 2: May 16, South Pasadena to Santa Clarita
- Stage 3: May 17, Thousand Oaks to Santa Barbara County
- Stage 4: May 18, Morro Bay to Monterey County
- Stage 5: May 19, Lodi to South Lake Tahoe
- Stage 6: May 20, Folsom, individual time trial
- Stage 7: May 21, Santa Rosa
- Stage 8: May 22, Sacramento
- Stage 1: May 19, South Lake Tahoe
- Stage 2: May 20, Folsom, team time trial
- Stage 3: May 21, Santa Rosa
- Stage 4: May 22, Sacramento