The 750-mile, nine-day race runs from Sacramento to Escondido
Organizers of the Amgen Tour of California have released details of the 2009 route, a nine-day, 750-mile course that will travel almost the entire length of California, from Sacramento to Escondido. This year’s race is one day and about 100 miles longer than the 2008 route.
This year the race will also feature a $15,000 women’s criterium, run in conjunction with stage 1 in Santa Rosa.
The February 14-22 race will include a number of new host cities for starts and departures. New cities include Davis, Santa Cruz, Merced, Clovis, Visalia, Paso Robles, Rancho Bernardo and Escondido.
The race will once again feature the important 15-mile Solvang time trial on stage 6. It was in Solvang last year that Levi Leipheimer wrapped up his overall victory, after taking the lead thanks to a stage 3 breakaway with Rabobank’s Robert Gesink.
The race opens with a three-mile prologue in Sacramento, followed by a new difficult 108-mile stage 1, from Davis to Santa Rosa.
Stage 2, from Sausalito to Santa Cruz, will pass over the Golden Gate Bridge, a first for the race.
Stage 3, from San Jose to Modesto, includes the tough Sierra Road climb as well as Patterson Pass.
The route also will include a new hilly stage 4 from Merced to Clovis.
Stage 5 is a 130-mile epic from Visalia to Paso Robles.
After the stage 6 time trial, stage 7 is a tough stage from Santa Clarita to Pasadena, finishing with circuits near the Rose Bowl.
The race concludes with a 97-mile point-to-point stage from Rancho Bernardo to Escondido, in San Diego County — new territory for the race. The final stage includes the 12-mile Palomar Mountain climb.
A press release with route details is here. Check back to VeloNews.com soon for a complete report on the new route.