Twelve cities have been named official Host City partners for the 2013 Amgen Tour of California by AEG, presenter of the race, helping to make up the route which will take riders on a South to North course for the first time in the eight-year race history. Considered America's largest and most prestigious professional road cycling stage race, the eighth consecutive edition of the Amgen Tour of California will travel approximately 750 miles from May 12-19, 2013.
"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. "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."
The official race start, Stage 1, will begin and finish in Escondido, a city located in northern San Diego that had previously hosted 2009's spectacular overall finish. The next day, Stage 2 will take riders through the hot 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. From there, the cyclists will ride north toward the Pacific Coast and picturesque 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.
Stage 7 will start in Livermore and head to Mt. Diablo for an intense mountaintop finish. The eighth and final stage of the 2013 Amgen Tour of California will start in San Francisco and finish in Santa Rosa, which played host to the official race start last year.
Commenting on the 2013 route, Tejay van Garderen of the BMC Racing Team, who won the best young rider classification at this year's Tour de France and placed fourth overall at the 2012 Amgen Tour of California said, "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. 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."