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Sacramento expected to host start of 2017 Amgen Tour of California

Julian Alaphilippe of France crosses the finish line in eighth place in a 12.6-mile time trial in Folsom to maintain his overall lead in this year’s Amgen Tour of California. Alaphilippe went on to win the title.
Julian Alaphilippe of France crosses the finish line in eighth place in a 12.6-mile time trial in Folsom to maintain his overall lead in this year’s Amgen Tour of California. Alaphilippe went on to win the title. rpench@sacbee.com

The announcement likely will come early next week, but Sacramento officials expect the city to host the start of the men’s Amgen Tour of California for the third time in four years next May.

One day shorter than in 2016, when the country’s most prestigious cycling event ended in Sacramento, the 12th annual race is scheduled for May 14-20. A four-day women’s stage race will be held May 11-14, likely from South Lake Tahoe to Sacramento.

Neither the Anschutz Entertainment Group (AEG), which owns the event, nor the title sponsor would confirm Sacramento’s status.

But Sacramento officials confirmed weeks ago that the city has bid to host a stage, while Modesto officials plan to host Stage 2 of the men’s race on May 15.

Inclement weather and other factors have prompted last-minute changes since the race’s debut in 2006. But considering hotel accommodations and other race logistics required for an international event with an entourage of several hundred, Sacramento is the prevailing choice for the men’s start and women’s finish.

“We’ve done the paperwork to host a stage again,” said Mike Sophia, the director of the Sacramento Sports Commission. “It’s just one of those events that connect with the community. I can’t pinpoint one thing, but it’s the active lifestyle, the interest in cycling, and the vibrancy of midtown and downtown.”

Elk Grove, which has never been part of the event, has bid on a women’s stage.

We’ve done the paperwork to host a stage again. It’s just one of those events that connect with the community. I can’t pinpoint one thing, but it’s the active lifestyle, the interest in cycling, and the vibrancy of midtown and downtown.

Mike Sophia, the director of the Sacramento Sports Commission

Frenchman Julian Alaphilippe, who placed fourth in the Olympic road race in Rio de Janeiro, won Stage 3 and the overall men’s title in this year’s Tour of California. Megan Guarnier, a resident of France and San Mateo and also a U.S. Olympian this year, claimed the opening stage and overall title in the women’s race.

For Sacramento, which hosted the opening stage of the men’s race in 2014 and 2015, next year’s event will mark its ninth participation. It would launch the race’s north-to-south trek. A city in the Los Angeles area is expected to host the finish.

“It’s certainly a logical choice,” Sophia said of Sacramento’s expected participation. “We did it before, and to be honest with you, there’s certainly a positive economic impact.”

Modesto’s involvement next year was pre-determined. The city paid last year to host – not a stage start or finish – but an overnight stay for the race entourage with the expectation of receiving a 2017 stage.

Folsom, the site of the men’s individual time trial and women’s team time trial this year, did not bid for a stage in 2017.

“The Amgen Tour of California is a great fit for our city,” said Folsom spokeswoman Christine Brainerd. “Folsom is a very active cycling community, and we embrace the Tour of California, but we do want it to remain a special event, so there are no plans for it for the upcoming year.”

Frenchman Julian Alaphilippe, who placed fourth in the Olympic road race in Rio de Janeiro, won Stage 3 and the overall men’s title in this year’s Tour of California.

Davis, which usually seeks a stage, won’t participate in 2017, focusing instead on the 100th anniversary of the city’s incorporation and other civic milestones.

Santa Rosa and Monterey, which hosted stages this year, won’t be involved in 2017, according to city spokespeople. Morro Bay, which hosted a stage start this year, and San Jose, which has been part of the event in nine editions, have bid for 2017.

Participating teams, key individual riders and route mileages usually are announced sporadically a few weeks before the event.

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