LOS ANGELES (BRAIN) — Organizers of the Amgen Tour of California have announced the route of the 2014 edition of America's highest ranked stage race. This year's route progresses north to south from May 11 to May 18, covering 740 miles. Unlike previous editions, the toughest and most critical stages occur on the first few days, which organizers say will create a new dynamic in the battle for the overall title.
"The peloton will face the longest stage, the fast and flat time trial, and the hardest stage in the first three days of racing. In past races, the time trial and Queen stages – which typically shape overall standings – came late in the race, and the leader after that point had to defend his top position for only one or two remaining days. This year, with several days of difficult racing to follow, it is likely 2014 race fans will see the coveted yellow leader jersey change hands throughout the week with top performers in close contention and challenging each other until the very finish," a race press release said.
This year's race also will feature two women's days: a circuit race in Sacramento on May 11 and a time trial the following day in Folsom, on the same course that men will race on later that day.
This year's stages:
Stage 1: Sacramento to Sacramento, 123 miles; women's circuit race.
Stage 2: Folsom time trial, 12.5 miles; men and women.
Stage 3: San Jose to Mount Diablo Summit, 110 miles
Stage 4: Monterey to Cambria, 105 miles
Stage 5: Pismo Beach to Santa Barbara, 108 miles
Stage 6: Santa Clarita to Mountain High, 97 miles
Stage 7: Santa Clarita to Pasadena, 91 miles
Stage 8: Thousand Oaks (Circuit Race), 84 miles
Also on Friday, organizers announced the final seven Continental and Pro Continental teams invited to the race, adding to the previously announced list of top-tier ProTeams.
This year's teams:
UCI ProTeams: Belkin-Pro Cycling Team, Netherlands; BMC Racing Team, USA; Cannondale Pro Cycling, Italy; Omega Pharma – Quick-Step Cycling Team, Belgium; ORICA-GreenEDGE, Australia; Team Giant-Shimano, Netherlands; Team Garmin-Sharp, USA; Team Sky, Great Britain; Trek Factory Racing, USA
UCI Professional Continental Teams: UnitedHealthcare Pro Cycling Team, USA; Team Novo Nordisk, USA; Team NetApp-Endura, Germany
UCI Continental Teams: Optum Pro Cycling presented by Kelly Benefit Strategies, USA; Team Jamis-Hagens Berman presented by Sutter Home, USA; Jelly Belly Cycling Team presented by MAXXIS, USA; Bissell Development Team, USA.