The 2008 Amgen Tour of California professional cycling road race will take place February 17-24, 2008, covering more than 700 miles (increased from 650 miles in 2007) over the eight days.
Race organizers also announced the 12 official stage start and finish cities that have been selected for the 2008 race, including three new locales - Modesto, Palo Alto and Pasadena - that will join Sacramento, San Jose, San Luis Obispo, Santa Barbara, Santa Clarita, Santa Rosa, Sausalito, Seaside and Solvang as host cities along the route.
"We are committed to making the Amgen Tour of California bigger and better every year, continuing to raise the bar for what it means to be the largest, most important cycling race in America," said Shawn Hunter, managing director, Amgen Tour of California. The ToC debuted in 2006.
The 2007 race drew more than 1.6 million spectators, setting records for a single sporting event in the state of California, as well as any cycling event ever held on U.S. soil. The race also has generated $100 million in economic growth for the state each year.
In its first two years, the Amgen Tour of California attracted some of the world's most renowned and respected riders, including Team CSC's Dave Zabriskie and world champion Paolo Bettini. Belgian sprinting star and 2007 Tour de France green jersey winner Tom Boonen has mentioned his plans to race the ToC in 2008. As the winner of the 2007 Amgen Tour of California, California resident Levi Leipheimer (Discovery Channel) continued his winning ways this year, taking two stages of the Tour of Georgia and the final time trial in the 2007 Tour de France, where he finished third to Spanish teammate Alberto Contador on the podium in Paris July 29.
"I think [the Tour of California] has a good place on the calendar," Leipheimer said. "More and more of the world's best want to come. I think next year we will see an even better field. I think it will just continue to grow like that."
Beginning with the Prologue in Palo Alto through the grand finale in Pasadena, the 2008 race will visit 12 host cities for official stage starts and finishes. Stages for the 2008 Amgen Tour of California include:
* Prologue: Sunday, Feb. 17 - Palo Alto
* Stage 1: Monday, Feb. 18 - Sausalito to Santa Rosa
* Stage 2: Tuesday, Feb. 19 - Santa Rosa to Sacramento
* Stage 3: Wednesday, Feb. 20 - Modesto to San Jose
* Stage 4: Thursday, Feb. 21 - Seaside to San Luis Obispo
* Stage 5: Friday, Feb. 22 - Solvang time trial
* Stage 6: Saturday, Feb. 23 - Santa Barbara to Santa Clarita
* Stage 7: Sunday, Feb. 24 - Santa Clarita to Pasadena road race, concluding with a circuit race in Pasadena