Tour of California 2013 gets first Southern California start, Northern California shunned

The eighth edition of the Amgen Tour of California, largely abandoning Northern California, will begin as expected in Escondido and spend five days in Southern California before advancing to the extended San Francisco Bay for its final three days.

The estimated 750-mile race, which will begin in Southern California for the first time, will start May 12, 2013 with a stage beginning and ending in Escondido, about 30 miles north of San Diego,

The route will then progress through six additional Southern California cities: Murrieta, Palm Springs, Palmdale, Santa Clarita (twice), Santa Barbara (twice) and Avila Beach for stages 2-5.

The final three Northern California stages will begin with the stage 6 time trial in San Jose, which will extend its status as the only host city for all of the race’s editions. Stage 7 will take the field from Livermore to a mountaintop finish Mt. Diablo (Danville) before the finale stage 8 on May 19 from San Francisco to Santa Rosa.

Santa Rosa, which hosted the start of the race in 2012, will be the farthest north the race will travel in 2013. Sacramento, the state’s capital and part of the race for five years, as well as Davis, Folsom, Nevada City and the Lake Tahoe region, among other interested Northern California locales, were all not selected.

As in previous years, race teams, participants and stage mileages won’t be announced until just prior to the race.

While the South-to-North route represents a new chapter for the event, the race’s route announcement for 2013 was delayed this year. Fewer cities were financially able to compete for the event, including the recent withdrawal of interest of previously aggressive pursuers like San Luis Obispo and Solvang.

While numerous Northern California cities were interested, race organizers several months ago received a sizeable financial commitment from Escondido city officials. With an eight-day race, Northern California cities became geographically improbable.

“Taking the Amgen Tour of California from South to North is something we always knew we wanted to do, and we are thrilled with the way things have come together for 2013,” said Kristin Bachochin, executive director of the Amgen Tour of California and senior vice president of AEG Sports, the race owner.”

“We think this will bring a whole new element to the competition for the elite cyclists who participate, not to mention some striking California scenery for our worldwide audience. California provides a variety of beautiful yet challenging terrain, helping us achieve our goal of creating a challenging route year after year while showcasing the very best this state has to offer.”

Escondido hosted the race’s 2009 overall finish. Stage 2 will take riders through desert terrain from Murrieta to Greater Palm Springs, two cities making their race debut. For Stage 3, the race will return to Palmdale for a stage start and then travel approximately 100 miles west to the city of Santa Clarita.

The city, which hosted the race in 2007, 2008, 2009 and 2011, will also serve as the start of Stage 4. The cyclists will then ride north toward the Pacific Coast and Santa Barbara, which last hosted the race in 2008, for the Stage 4 finish.

“I’m very excited to hear about the new South – North route for the 2013 Amgen Tour of California,” said Chris Horner, 2011 Amgen Tour of California champion. “After growing up in San Diego, I love seeing the race back on the roads I’ve ridden for the past 25 years. Being welcomed by thousands of fans in Escondido in 2009 was a highlight of my career, and I’m sure the crowds will be even more amazing for the 2013 edition. The Amgen Tour of California is one of my favorite races of the year, and I’m already looking forward to battling it out on the California roads again this May.”

The race will remain in Santa Barbara for the start of Stage 5 of the 2013 Amgen Tour of California. Ocean views will provide the perfect backdrop for racers and spectators alike as the route heads north to Avila Beach for the Stage 5 finish. San Jose will play host to Stage 6 and the Individual Time Trial, marking the eighth consecutive year the race has visited the city. San Jose is the only city to participate in all eight editions of the race.

“Santa Rosa had big crowds and a huge reception last year for the start, so it will be exciting to go back to the hometown of the BMC Racing Team,” said Tejay van Garderen. “I also spent a little time last winter in Santa Barbara, so that should be a fun town to finish in as well. As an American cyclist, the Amgen Tour of California is always a priority for me and our team, and I am looking forward to racing in California again in 2013.”

Stage 7 will start in Livermore and head to Mt. Diablo for a mountaintop finish. The final stage will start in San Francisco and finish in Santa Rosa, which played host to the official race start last year.

“As an American pro cyclist and recent California transplant, I am extremely excited to see where the 2013 Amgen Tour of California route will run,” said Peter Stetina of Team Garmin-Sharp-Barracuda. “Being on an American team, Garmin-Sharp-Barracuda, with American sponsors, The Amgen Tour of California is one of the most important races of the year for us.”

“Each of the Host City partners announced today is unique in its own way and brings character to our race,” continued to Bachochin. “We are looking forward to another exciting year and another intense competition.”

Previous race winners include: Floyd Landis (2006), Levi Leipheimer (2007-08-09), Michael Rogers (2010), Chris Horner (2011) and Robert Gesink (2012)

The 2013 Tour of California stages:

Stage 1: Sunday, May 12 – Escondido
Stage 2: Monday, May 13 – Murrieta to Greater Palm Springs
Stage 3: Tuesday, May 14 – Palmdale to Santa Clarita
Stage 4: Wednesday, May 15 – Santa Clarita to Santa Barbara
Stage 5: Thursday, May 16 – Santa Barbara to Avila Beach
Stage 6: Friday, May 17 – San Jose (Individual Time Trial)
Stage 7: Saturday, May 18 – Livermore to Mt. Diablo
Stage 8: Sunday, May 19 – San Francisco to Santa Rosa

For further information on the 2013 Amgen Tour of California, and to view the 2013 Amgen Tour of California map, visit: www.AmgenTourofCalifornia.com.

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