Organizers are characterizing the 2019 Amgen Tour of California as the “most challenging” edition in the history of the race. The routes for the men’s and women’s events were unveiled on Thursday, with highlights including a finish at the formidable Mt. Baldy, which should deliver plenty of action in the overall battle.

“The 2019 race course is incredibly demanding — there’s more climbing and more long road days than ever before,” Tour of California president Kristin Klein said in the official route announcement.

The seven-day men’s event will start May 12 in Sacramento, finishing May 18 in Pasadena. The women’s race starts May 16 in Ventura and finishes May 18 in Pasadena.

The men’s race gets underway with a flat stage 1 in and around Sacramento, which hosted the final stage of the event in 2018. With no KOMs on the profile, the opening stage should favor the sprinters. The climbers will come to the fore the following day. Stage 2, which starts in Rancho Cordova, finishes with a tough climb to South Lake Tahoe, where Sky’s Egan Bernal took the race lead for good last year.

Stage 3 starts in Stockton and finishes in Morgan Hill. Although a handful of climbs will make for a tough start to the day, a flat finish will make a sprint finale a possibility. The same is true for stage 4, which runs from the Raceway Laguna Seca to Morro Bay, and stage 5, from Pismo Beach to Ventura. All three stages will feature more than 9,000 feet of elevation gain.

Southern California will host the queen stage, stage 6. The 127-kilometer day will take the peloton from Ontario to a summit finish at Mount Baldy, covering over 14,000 feet of elevation gain along the way.

The seventh and final stage of the men’s race starts in Santa Clarita en route to a sprinter-friendly finish in Pasadena at the iconic Rose Bowl.

The women’s race will run alongside the men’s event starting with the men’s fifth stage. The women’s opening stage will start and finish in Ventura, with a handful of short climbs on the way to a flat finish likely to favor the sprinters.

The women will tackle Mt. Baldy in stage 2, with 8,416 feet of elevation gain on the day and the same route for the final 20 miles as the men will race in stage 6.

Stage 3 will close out the race with a sprinter’s showdown in Pasadena.

The men’s race will cover 777.6 miles in total, with the women traversing 176.9 miles over three race days. With no time trials on the docket for either the men’s or women’s event, the general classification battles are likely to come down to the climbers in California this May — the 25 king of the mountain climbs the men are set to take on mark a record high for the event, now in its 14th year.

2019 Tour of California map

2019 Amgen Tour of California

Men’s race
Sunday, May 12: Stage 1 — Sacramento, 142.9km
Monday, May 13: Stage 2 — Rancho Cordova to South Lake Tahoe, 193.9km
Tuesday, May 14: Stage 3 — Stockton to Morgan Hill, 207km
Wednesday, May 15: Stage 4 — WeatherTech Raceway Laguna Seca to Morro Bay, 221.8km
Thursday, May 16: Stage 5 — Pismo Beach to Ventura, 217.9km
Friday, May 17: Stage 6 — Ontario to Mt. Baldy, 127km
Saturday, May 18: Stage 7 — Santa Clarita to Pasadena, 141km

Women’s race
Thursday, May 16: Stage 1 — Ventura, 95.9km
Friday, May 17: Stage 2 — Ontario to Mt. Baldy, 73.9km
Saturday, May 18: Stage 3 — Santa Clarita to Pasadena, 115km