The seventh consecutive edition of the Amgen Tour of California will travel more than 750 miles from May 13 – 20, 2012. The proposed route is:
- Stage 1: Sunday, May 13 – Santa Rosa
- Stage 2: Monday, May 14 – San Francisco to Santa Cruz County
- Stage 3: Tuesday, May 15 – San Jose to Livermore
- Stage 4: Wednesday, May 16 – Sonora (new for 2012) to Clovis
- Stage 5: Thursday, May 17 – Bakersfield (Individual Time Trial)
- Stage 6: Friday, May 18 – Palmdale to Big Bear Lake
- Stage 7: Saturday, May 19 – Ontario (new for 2012) to Mt. Baldy
- Stage 8: Sunday, May 20 – Los Angeles/L.A. LIVE
As announced earlier this year, Stage 1 of the race will start in Santa Rosa, hometown of three-time Amgen Tour of California Champion Levi Leipheimer. The race will then take the riders from San Francisco to Santa Cruz County for Stage 2, starting with the Golden Gate Bridge as a backdrop and once again bringing the route back along the picturesque coast of the Pacific Ocean. The last time the race went through San Francisco was in 2009, when terrible weather conditions, rain, hail, wind, made a tough day miserable for all involved.
Heading inland, Stage 3 of the race will begin in San Jose (the only city to be a Host City each of the previous six years of the event) and end in Livermore, traversing an entirely new part of the state not showcased in previous editions of the race. A new city for 2012, Stage 4 will start in Sonora and wind its way south, featuring several new climbs, before what’s sure to be a dramatic sprint finish in Clovis.
The much-anticipated Individual Time Trial, Stage 5, will be held in Bakersfield, a city that has hosted the Amgen Tour of California before (although not the Time Trial specifically), likely proving to favor those who have more than just speed as part of their repertoire. Stage 6 will start in Palmdale and head to Big Bear Lake, which was the site of a thrilling stage finish in 2010 when Michael Rogers (AUS) of HTC-Columbia secured his place as the race leader. For 2012, new challenges arise as a new climb is thrown into the mix.
Stage 7 of the race will start in Ontario, another new city for 2012, and once again include a grueling route to the top of Mt Baldy. During the 2011 race, Mt Baldy was the scene of an electric stage finish when American cyclists and RadioShack teammates Chris Horner and Levi Leipheimer crossed the finish line first and second respectively. Tacking on an additional 10 miles to the route with the start in Ontario, Stage 7 will likely prove to be the penultimate stage once again.
The final stage of the 2012 Amgen Tour of California, Stage 8 will take place in the heart of Downtown Los Angeles, sending riders in and around L.A. LIVE, the sports and entertainment district which includes STAPLES Center and Nokia Theatre L.A. LIVE within its footprint, for an epic overall finish to a thrilling race.
“I’m so proud to have the Amgen Tour of California coming back to Santa Rosa and Sonoma County in 2012,” said Levi Leipheimer, three-time race winner (2007, 2008, 2009) and Santa Rosa resident. “As host of the overall start on May 13, we’ll have a chance to show off our home town to the world, both on race day and in the days leading up to it as the teams and media gather here before the start. I’m looking forward to introducing some of the best cyclists in the world to some of the best cycling in the world – right here in my back yard. The 2012 Amgen Tour of California will be a hard fought battle as we march away from Santa Rosa towards the mighty Mt Baldy.”
“This race is special because it takes place in one of the most beautiful places in the world – California,” said Chris Horner, 2011 Amgen Tour of California Champion. “The Host Cities are always so welcoming and the crowds are always great, not to mention, they provide some of the toughest racing terrain around! I’m looking forward to racing in California again and defending my title in 2012.”