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Sacramento to host Tour of California bike race in 2015

Professional bike racers and bike enthusiasts head down N Street as they lap the Capitol before finishing on the west steps, where they take part in a press conference announcing Sacramento as host city for the opening day of the 2015 Amgen Tour of California bicycle race on Monday in Sacramento. The weeklong race, now in its 10th year, is put on by AEG and annually attracts many of the top riders and top racing teams in the world.
Professional bike racers and bike enthusiasts head down N Street as they lap the Capitol before finishing on the west steps, where they take part in a press conference announcing Sacramento as host city for the opening day of the 2015 Amgen Tour of California bicycle race on Monday in Sacramento. The weeklong race, now in its 10th year, is put on by AEG and annually attracts many of the top riders and top racing teams in the world. rpench@sacbee.com

The flat streets of Sacramento will host the opening day of the 2015 Amgen Tour of California bicycle race before riders embark on a scenic downhill run from the Nevada City foothills to the wine country of Lodi.

The host cities for the 10th anniversary of the eight-day event were announced at a news conference Monday that drew race organizers, local officials and top professional cyclists to the west steps of the Capitol. Starting May 10, cyclists competing in the nearly 700-mile race will cover eight stages, including a grueling climb from Ontario to Mount Baldy in Southern California.

The final stage will take riders from downtown Los Angeles to the finish line in Pasadena on May 17.

Organizers also announced a first-of-its-kind women’s race that will start May 8 in South Lake Tahoe and end in Sacramento on May 10, the first day of the men’s tour. Women also will compete in an invitational time trial May 15 at Big Bear Lake.

“Hosting the women’s race provides an opportunity to challenge these women athletes with the majestic Sierra Nevada and the spectacular Lake Tahoe as a backdrop,” said Carol Chaplin, executive director of the Lake Tahoe Visitors Authority.

Created and put on by AEG, the Amgen Tour of California is a world-class athletic event that draws top professional cyclists and racing teams. The race follows a north-to-south route that includes some of the state’s most historic and scenic locations.

Exact routes that riders will follow during each stage are still being determined, organizers said. The host cities for each stage will include:

Stage 1: Sacramento

Stage 2: Nevada City to Lodi

Stage 3: San Jose

Stage 4: Pismo Beach to Avila Beach

Stage 5: Santa Barbara to Santa Clarita

Stage 6: Individual time trial at Big Bear Lake

Stage 7: Ontario to Mount Baldy

Stage 8: Los Angeles to Pasadena

The 2015 race will mark the seventh time that Sacramento has hosted a stage and the third time that the event has kicked off in the capital, organizers said.

“An argument can be made that this state’s most passionate cycling fans reside here in Sacramento,” said Kristin Bachochin, executive director of the Amgen Tour of California.

Call The Bee’s Robert D. Dávila, (916) 321-1077. Follow him on Twitter @Bob_Davila. The Bee’s Tony Bizjak contributed to this report.

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