Tour of California route to feature new mountain stages

2012 route to include Beverly Hills and challenging time trial

The Amgen Tour of California will see new challenges in 2012, including an individual time trial with an eight percent climb.

The course will pass some of California’s iconic landmarks, such as Big Bear Lake and Mt. Baldy, as well as Sunset Boulevard and Beverly Hills.

Stage details:

Stage 1: Santa Rosa to Santa Rosa (Sunday, May 13)
3rd St. to Santa Rosa Ave.

The race begins in Levi Leipheimer’s home of Santa Rosa, California. Stage one features seven sprints and will pass through the Sonoma County vinyards and along the coast. There will be a technical descent into Occidental and a dramatic finish straight to the line, without the final circuits through Santa Rosa that have been featured here previously.

Stage 2: San Francisco to Aptos in Santa Cruz County (Monday, May 14)
Marina Green at Marina Boulevard in San Francisco to Cabrillo College on Cabrillo College Drive in Aptos

Stage two will have a dramatic race start heading to the break wall of San Francisco Bay against a backdrop of the Golden Gate Bridge, Alcatraz, Angel Island and the Marin Headlands. The race will follow stunning coastline. The Aptos finish will be a KOM opportunity and may be an opportunity for a dramatic sprint.

Stage 3: San Jose to Livermore (Tuesday, May 15)
Berryessa Community Center on Berryessa Road in San Jose to Livermore (M Street and 1st Street)

San Jose, where the stage begins, is the only city that has hosted the Amgen Tour of California all seven years of the race. Stage three will feature the highly anticipated Mt. Diablo climb for the first time in the history of the race. The stage will likely finish in a sprint in historic downtown Livermore.

Stage 4: Sonora to Clovis (Wednesday, May 16)
Sonora (Yaney and Washington) to Clovis (Bullard and Pollasky Aves.)

The stage begins at the gateway to nearby Yosemite National Park in the town of Sonora. This stage will offer numerous KOMs, technical descents and very few flat sections. The stage ends in Clovis, paying tribute to the town’s 100th anniversary.

Stage 5: Individual Time Trial (Thursday, May 1)
Bakerfield (Bakersfield College – Panorama Drive)

The Bakersfield circuit, back by popular demand, will return as an individual time trial in 2012. With very few flat sections, the ITT will prove a challenge for riders and a great spectacle for spectators. The stage will likely be hot and windy with consistent 100-foot rollers and a 300-foot bluff with an eight percent climb near the stage finish. From there, they will turn hard left to an uphill finish.

Stage 6: Palmdale to Big Bear Lake (Friday, May 18)
Marie Kerr Park, 2723 Rancho Vista Boulevard, Palmdale to Snow Summit Ski Area on Summit Boulevard in Big Bear Lake

Big Bear Lake returns to the 2012 route after being skipped in 2011. The stage’s first KOM will be at Mountain High ski area after a 12-mile climb to a 7,000-foot sumit, then move toward Big Bear area. The stage finishes over 7,000 feet in elevation at Snow Summit ski area.

Stage 7: Ontario to Mt. Baldy (Saturday, May 19)
Ontario Convention Center to Mt. Baldy Ski Resort

Often known as the “Queen’s Stage” because it resembles a stage from a European Grand Tour, stage 7 has never been so late in the race after such consistently strenuous stages. It features three KOMs, technical and fast descents and a sprint. Toward the end of the stage, the climbing gets so steep it has proven impassable for some race vehicles. According to the organizers, “This will be the stage where legends are made and winners are decided.”

Stage 8: Beverly Hills to L.A. LIVE – Los Angeles (Sunday, May 20)
Start Location: Beverly Hills – (Rodeo Drive and Brighton Way)
Finish Location: Los Angeles – L.A. LIVE (Figueroa Street and Chick Hearn Court)

The final stage begins in the famous Beverly Hills where “Designer dresses will give way to high-tech lycra,” according to race organizers. The stage will include Santa Monica Boulevard, Doheny Drive, Sunset Boulevard and West Hollywood.