LOS ANGELES, CA (BRAIN)—The Amgen Tour of California will experience some firsts early next year.
The nine day, 800-mile race will now end in San Diego County's Escondido. Also for the first time, riders will cross the Golden Gate Bridge at the beginning of stage 3.
The 16 official stage start and finish cities that have been selected for the 2009 race include eight new locales: Davis, Santa Cruz, Merced, Clovis, Visalia, Paso Robles, Rancho Bernardo and Escondido. These cities join Sacramento, Santa Rosa, Sausalito, San Jose, Modesto, Solvang, Santa Clarita and Pasadena as host cities along the route.
“Each year, we strive to make the Amgen Tour of California better,” said Andrew Messick, president of AEG Sports, presenter of the race. “And after getting input from riders and fans last year, we decided to expand the race to better showcase the great state of California. We are delighted to have such a great overall mix of cities partnering with us for the 2009 Amgen Tour of California and are pleased to include the eight new stops, along with so many of our old friends.”
In 2008, the race drew 1.6 million spectators, continuing to set records for a single sporting event in the state of California, as well as any cycling event ever held on U.S. soil. Each year the race has generated $100 million in economic growth for the state.
“For the first time, the Amgen Tour of California will take place over nine days, we will make our first visit to the western slopes of the Sierra Nevada and visit San Diego County for what promises to be another exciting conclusion to the race," Messick said.
Stages for the 2009 Amgen Tour of California include:
Stage 1: Saturday, Feb. 14 – Sacramento
Stage 2: Sunday, Feb. 15 – Davis to Santa Rosa
Stage 3: Monday, Feb. 16 – Sausalito to Santa Cruz
Stage 4: Tuesday, Feb. 17 – San Jose to Modesto
Stage 5: Wednesday, Feb. 18 – Merced to Clovis
Stage 6: Thursday, Feb. 19 – Visalia to Paso Robles
Stage 7: Friday, Feb. 20 – Solvang (individual time trial)
Stage 8: Saturday, Feb. 21 – Santa Clarita to Pasadena
Stage 9: Sunday, Feb. 22 – Rancho Bernardo to Escondido
—Jason Norman (photo)