The 2011 Amgen Tour of California, the largest cycling event in America, will start at Lake Tahoe, one of the country’s most spectacular destinations and nationally renowned cycling meccas.
Lake Tahoe’s first-ever involvement in the race will feature more than a lap and a half around the Lake beginning at the Califorinia/Nevada border in South Lake Tahoe with the Stage 1 finish at Northstar-at-Tahoe Resort in North Lake Tahoe. North Lake Tahoe also hosts the Stage 2 start at Squaw Valley USA, home of the 1960 Winter Olympics.
The Amgen Tour of California covers more than 800 miles, traveling between 15 host cities over the course of eight days from May 15-22, 2011. Last year’s date change from February to May allowed the Tour de France-style road race to visit locations that would not have been possible previously, including a visit to Big Bear Lake. Due to the incredible success, the race will remain in May to provide fans with the most action-packed race possible.
The race will wind through miles of beautiful California terrain, beginning with the first-ever visit to Lake Tahoe, a well known cycling destination and home of “America’s Most Beautiful Bike Ride.” The race will travel through some of the state’s most scenic landmarks, with the overall finish in title-sponsor Amgen’s hometown community of Thousand Oaks.
The 15 official stage start and finish communities that have been selected for the 2011 race include newcomers: South Lake Tahoe, North Lake Tahoe-Northstar at Tahoe Resort, North Lake Tahoe-Squaw Valley USA, Auburn, Livermore, Claremont, and Mt. Baldy, along with return cities: Sacramento, Modesto, San Jose, Seaside, Paso Robles, Solvang, Santa Clarita and Thousand Oaks.
“Whether it’s skinny or fat tires, Tahoe is a passionate biking community,” said Carol Chaplin, executive director of the Lake Tahoe Visitors Authority. “Hosting the Amgen Tour of California, the country’s most prestigious bike race, will put us on the map as ‘must ride’ for cyclists while having a significant impact on the local and regional economy.”
“There is nothing quite like riding at elevation – 6,300 feet,” said Andy Chapman, tourism director of the North Lake Tahoe Resort Association. “These cyclists are going to be pushing the envelope as they make their way up and down mountain passes and not once but twice around the national treasure of Emerald Bay State Park for a grand finish at Northstar-at-Tahoe Resort. Equally spectacular will be the Stage 2 Start at Squaw Valley USA with Tahoe’s famed granite peaks making for an unforgettable backdrop.”
Beginning with the inaugural race in 2006, the Amgen Tour of California quickly became the most successful race in the United States with regards to economic benefits to the state, global recognition and the level of competition. The race also continues to set records in attendance for a single sporting event in the state of California, as well as any cycling event ever held on U.S. soil, with more than 2 million spectators in previous years.
“Last year we witnessed the benefits of moving the Amgen Tour of California to May – better weather, a new, challenging route and more intense competition,” said Andrew Messick, president of AEG Sports. “In 2011 we plan to continue to showcase the beautiful features the state of California has to offer, while also continuing to raise the bar for what it means to be the largest, most important cycling race in America.” In previous years, the race has drawn some of the world’s most renowned and respected riders, such as top Tour de France competitors, World Champions and Olympic medalists that include Lance Armstrong, Tom Boonen, Oscar Freire, Paolo Bettini, Fabian Cancellara, Carlos Sastre, Ivan Basso, George Hincapie, Mark Cavendish and Andy Schleck.
“The 2011 Amgen Tour of California route is going to result in an exciting and compelling race,” said Lance Armstrong of Team Radioshack. “All of us at Team Radioshack are looking forward to it.”
The 2011 Amgen Tour of California will visit 15 Host Cities for official stage starts and finishes, while other cities along the route also will have the opportunity to witness the excitement of elite professional cycling. Stages for the 2011 Amgen Tour of California include:
• Stage 1: Sunday, May 15 – South Lake Tahoe to North Lake Tahoe-Northstar at Tahoe Resort
• Stage 2: Monday, May 16 – North Lake Tahoe-Squaw Valley USA to Sacramento
• Stage 3: Tuesday, May 17 – Auburn to Modesto
• Stage 4: Wednesday, May 18 – Livermore to San Jose
• Stage 5: Thursday, May 19 – Seaside to Paso Robles
• Stage 6: Friday, May 20 – Solvang Individual Time Trial
• Stage 7: Saturday, May 21 – Claremont to Mt. Baldy
• Stage 8: Sunday, May 22 – Santa Clarita to Thousand Oaks