It’s just over two weeks until the start of the second Amgen Tour of California Women’s Race empowered with SRAM, which is part of the inaugural UCI Women’s WorldTour. For lay people, that means the best women’s teams and most accomplished riders in the world will gather in the Golden State May 19-22 to put on a thrilling four-stage cycling spectacle not to be missed.
Last year’s inaugural Amgen Tour of California Women’s Race empowered by SRAM was a sensational success showcasing a peloton filled with the world’s fastest female cyclists competing in a three-day stage race followed by an invitational time trial event. The ante is being upped in a big way in 2016 as the Amgen Tour of California Women’s Race empowered by SRAM, taking place May 19-22, is part of the inaugural UCI Women’s WorldTour and will include the first ever women’s team time trial as Stage 2 of America’s Greatest Race.
This week, we finally got a look at the challenging route for the 2016 Amgen Tour of California, which was revealed at a media event presented by Visit California. From top to bottom – actually that should be from bottom to top since for only the second time ever, the race will travel south to north – the courses for the May 15-22 event will showcase California’s breathtaking beauty while taking the breath of the world’s most accomplished cyclists in a stage race that could be described as long and tall. The route for the eleventh edition of America’s Greatest Race is one of the longest in race history at nearly 800 miles and one of the tallest with almost 65,000 feet of climbing.
Halfway through the tenth edition of the Amgen Tour of California, we arrive at the business end of the 724-mile, eight-day stage race. The next three stages will determine the overall winner with today’s Stage 5 from Santa Barbara to Santa Clarita not to be overlooked ahead of Friday’s individual time trial (forced to move from Big Bear Lake to Santa Clarita due to impending snow and frigid temperatures) and Saturday’s highly anticipated epic battle on Baldy.
There’s a reason why Toms Skujins, the new leader of the Amgen Tour of California after a spectacular solo assault on Mt. Hamilton propelled him to victory on Tuesday’s Stage 3 in San Jose, was cracking jokes and deftly delivering perfectly-timed one-liners to the media during the post-race press conference. The 23-year-old Latvian riding for Hincapie Racing learned to speak English watching the Cartoon Network. Skujins audacious attack on the above category mountain was no joke.
Each and every host city during the Amgen Tour of California does a terrific job making the peloton and fans feel welcome during the approximately 700-mile sojourn from Northern to Southern California. As one of thirteen cities selected to host a stage start or finish during America’s Greatest Race, they usually find a unique way to distinguish themselves in the whirlwind the riders experience while passing through countless cities, towns and villages during the race. The charming beach and wine town of Pismo Beach captured our hearts last year when their adorable children gathered to send the riders off ahead of the day’s arduous stage adorned with a special keepsake.