The 5 best spots to watch the Amgen Tour of California in the Sacramento area

Cycling fans in Sacramento, your time is almost here.

The 14th annual Amgen Tour of California speeds off near the Capitol on Sunday. For the fourth time in six years, Sacramento serves as the opening stage’s starting and finishing point.

The city’s 11 appearances in the Union Cycliste Internationale’s only U.S. men’s cycling event on the WorldTour calendar is second only to San Jose’s 12.

Stage 1 of the race begins at 2:15 p.m. and should finish around 5:30. The 88.9-mile stage heads through West Sacramento and Woodland en route to Winters before rolling back east through Davis and onto the finish line at 11th and L streets.

Here are five good places to see the action on the opening day:

1. The start/finish line

Sunday’s winner will go into Monday’s Stage 2 start in Rancho Cordova as the race leader.

2. Tower Bridge

The Sacramento River crossing that connects Sacramento and Yolo counties is a well-known area landmark riders will take west early in the race and east heading to the day’s end.

3. Corners

The action will slow a bit as riders make turns from one street to another. Once riders cross Tower Bridge on the way back to Sacramento, they will navigate six corners en route to the finish line.

4. Capital Circuit

Spectators can catch riders speeding along this stretch where the peloton will take three laps around downtown Sacramento to close the stage.

5. Winters

Just past the stage’s halfway point, it’s a bit of a drive from Sacramento – more than 30 miles east – but Railroad Avenue, which runs through the small Yolo County city, features a city park and restaurants, including one that was featured on a national TV program.

Can’t make it Sunday? You have one more chance

Fans in the area don’t have to travel far to see the start of Stage 2. The peloton will take off from Rancho Cordova City Hall at 9:30 a.m. Monday.

There will be festivities beginning at 8 a.m. which include a free festival, rider meet-and-greets, music and more before the riders head out on their 133.3-mile journey to South Lake Tahoe.

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Noel Harris is a sports reporter for The Sacramento Bee, with a focus on the Kings. He’s been in professional journalism for more than 18 years. His roles have included sports editor at The Modesto Bee and news editor at two smaller California newspapers, as well as online producer and copy editor.