Stage details of the 750-mile 2009 Amgen Tour of California were revealed today. In its fourth year, the race will travel almost the entire length of California, from the state’s capitol, Sacramento, to Escondido, in San Diego County.
Scheduled over nine consecutive days from February 14-22, 2009, the race will visit 16 host cities for official stage starts and finishes. Host cities for the Prologue and eight stages include: Sacramento, Davis, Santa Rosa, Sausalito, Santa Cruz, San Jose, Modesto, Merced, Clovis, Visalia, Paso Robles, Solvang, Santa Clarita, Pasadena, Rancho Bernardo and Escondido. Two-time winner and defending champion Levi Leipheimer will have his Astana team, including Lance Armstrong, to help him score a hat trick in 2009.
2009 Tour of California Route
Prologue: Sacramento (Saturday, February 14, 2009) 3.9km/2.4 miles
Showcasing the State Capitol, the Capitol Mall area and the well-known Tower Bridge, the racers will take less than five minutes to finish the 3.9km Prologue.
Stage 1: Davis – Santa Rosa (Sunday, February 15, 2009) 173.2km/107.6 miles
After 20 miles of flat roads, the riders will meet their first climb up a short, but steep section leading up to the Monticello Dam. Another long, flat section along Lake Berryessa will take the riders to their second climb up Howell Mountain Rd., followed by a fast descent into Napa Valley. After one final climb and a steep descent from Calistoga Road, the cyclists will finish the race with circuit laps in downtown Santa Rosa.
Held in conjunction with Stage 1, the Women’s Criterium will begin at 1 p.m. and will showcase some of the world’s top professional women cyclists competing for US$15,000 in prizes, using portions of the Stage 1 men’s finishing circuit in Santa Rosa.
Stage 2: Sausalito – Santa Cruz (Monday, February 16, 2009) 186.6km/115.9 miles
Stage 2 will begin in Sausalito and head south over the Golden Gate Bridge, through the streets of San Francisco, then down the California coastline on Highway 1. This coastal stage will include two long, but moderate climbs on Tunitas Creek Road and Bonny Doon Road, which will be followed by lengthy and fast descents before finishing in Santa Cruz.
Stage 3: San Jose – Modesto (Tuesday, February 17, 2009) 167.7km/104.2 miles
Stage 3 takes the cyclists up Sierra Road (1,930 ft.) within the first five miles of the stage, then fast and flat roads full of twists and turns (Calaveras Road alone has more than 40 switchbacks) before climbing Patterson Pass. The stage will finish with two circuits in downtown Modesto.
Stage 4: Merced – Clovis (Wednesday, February 18, 2009) 187.7km/115.4 miles
With four KOMs and several sprints, Stage 4 will be a test for the riders with consistently hilly and technical terrain. From the start in Merced to the finish in Clovis, this stage will be characterized by consistent climbing. Fans can watch the climbs at any of the four locations – Hwy 140, twice on Hwy 49 and Crane Valley Road.
Stage 5: Visalia – Paso Robles (Thursday, February 19, 2009) 216.1km/134.3 miles
Stage 5 will begin with a neutral start of parade laps through Visalia’s downtown area. For the first 100 miles of the stage, the riders will have virtually no protection from the wind, creating a challenging ride. Packed full of rolling hills and large horse farms, the final 30-mile run into Paso Robles will be a fast sprint to the finish.
Stage 6: Solvang Individual Time Trial (Friday, February 20, 2009) 24km/15 miles
The route will wind through small towns, vineyards, farms, and one short, but steep climb up Ballard Canyon, beginning and ending in the Danish village of Solvang.
Stage 7: Santa Clarita – Pasadena (Saturday, February 21, 2009) 143km/88.9 miles
The first 25 miles of Stage 7 include a gradual climb from Santa Clarita, through Acton, to the intersection of Angeles Forest Road, climbing the Millcreek Summit (4,906 ft.). Descending with a 15-mile run to Angeles Crest Highway, the route begins a fast plunge to the Rose Bowl in Pasadena. After more than 65 miles from Santa Clarita to Pasadena, with the mountains and the Rose Bowl serving as the backdrop, the peloton will complete the stage with five, five-mile laps.
Stage 8: Rancho Bernardo – Escondido (Sunday, February 22, 2009) 155.8km/96.8 miles
With four climbs, including the highest point ever reached in the Tour, and two sprints, Stage 8 will be the most difficult final stage that the Amgen Tour of California has ever seen. At 11.7 miles, a seven percent average grade, 4,200 feet of climbing and 21 switchbacks, Palomar Mountain will provide a challenging conclusion to the event.