05.19.13 | Stage 8 Finish
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Known as one of the top cycling destinations in the world, Santa Rosa is home to three-time Amgen Tour of California winner Levi Leipheimer, home of the US headquarters of the 2011 Tour de France winning Team BMC, and host to training camps for many elite pro-cycling teams, as well as amateur clubs and bike-passionate individuals. But it isn’t just cyclists who journey here. Sonoma County, voted the #1 US wine destination in the 2012 TripAdvisor Travelers’ Choice Awards, holds a romantic allure for anyone who gets a taste of our award-winning wines and world-class cuisine, glimpses the majestic beauty of our towering redwoods and colorful vineyards, or meanders to the coast to feel cool sand between their toes and an ocean breeze in their hair… As Levi says: “I’ve made a life out of riding and racing my bike all over the globe. With the entire world from which to choose, I opted for Santa Rosa.”
Like fine wine, balance is the key to Santa Rosa’s appeal. Its thriving arts and creative hub bustles like a big city with the friendly service of a small community. Numerous farmers’ markets are vibrant places for Sonoma County farmers and artisans to provide a wide selection of organic foods and specialty products nurtured out of the region’s fertile soil. Travelers appreciate Santa Rosa’s relaxed and authentic wine country experience. Our famous chefs and diverse downtown restaurant offerings make dining in Santa Rosa an affordable culinary adventure.
While Santa Rosa has been home to professional bike races for decades, including the famed Coors Classic in the ‘80s, it wasn’t until 2006, when Santa Rosa hosted the first ever Stage 1 of the Amgen Tour of California, that the cycling culture began to so effectively merge with the community culture. The Tour returned to Santa Rosa for stage finishes and starts every year from 2006-2010, and spawned events such as Levi Leipheimer’s King Ridge GranFondo, and The Great West End Handcar Regatta. With the return of the Tour in 2012, and the privilege of hosting the most lauded Overall Start in Tour history, Santa Rosa had something even more serious to brag about… Until May 2013 when we will again make history as the first Northern California OVERALL FINISH host city as the Tour changes direction moving from South to North. Once again we look forward to sharing the beauty and culture of Sonoma County, and the thrill of the race with you!
"After seven years of participating in the Amgen Tour of California, Santa Rosans thought our highest honor was hosting the 2012 Overall Start – an epic stage that highlighted the phenomenal beauty of Sonoma County. The question of what could match that experience was answered when AEG offered the first Northern California Overall Finish hosting honors to Santa Rosa. Just as we rolled out the wine colored carpet for the 2012 Overall Start, we will celebrate the 2013 Overall Finish with just as much joy. This race provides a tremendous long-term return on investment and continues to be a powerful force on our community identity. Once again we welcome home this world class race, and welcome the opportunity to showcase the premiere cycling destination that Santa Rosa and the County of Sonoma have become to so many."
— Mayor Ernesto Olivares, City of Santa Rosa
As a founding sponsor, Visit California is pleased to be a part of the 2013 Amgen Tour of California. For insider trip ideas, cruise over to visitcalifornia.com.
SANTA ROSA / STAGE 8 Finish, May 19
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