Details of the long-awaited and
Details of the long-awaited and much anticipated Amgen Tour of California were
finally announced today in a press conference in San Francisco, California.
The Amgen Tour of California will be an eight-stage road race, beginning with a
prologue on the streets of San Francisco on February 19, 2006. In the days
to follow, the race will travel north as far as Santa Rosa and then back south,
eventually ending in a circuit race in Redondo Beach. With California
being the number one tourist destination in the United States, host cities have
stepped up to sponsor this inaugural event to bring exposure to the beauty and
diversity of California.
Prologue: Sunday, 02.19.06 San Francisco - Individual Time Trial (3.2 miles/5
Stage 1: Monday, 02.20.06 Sausalito to Santa Rosa (105 miles/168.9 km)
Stage 2: Tuesday, 02.21.06 Martinez to San Jose (107.6 miles/173.11 km)
Stage 3: Wednesday, 02.22.06 San Jose Individual Time Trial (20 miles/32.1 km)
Stage 4: Thursday, 02.23.06 Monterey to San Luis Obispo (141 miles/226.9 km)
Stage 5: Friday, 02.24.06 San Luis Obispo to Santa Barbara (109.6 miles/176.4
Stage 6: Saturday, 02.25.06 Santa Barbara to Thousand Oaks (105 miles/168.9 km)
Stage 7: Sunday, 02.26.06 Redondo Beach - Circuit Race (11 miles/9 laps)
While noting that the exact roads will not be disclosed for several more
months, the race, in general, stays close to the coast to avoid snowy mountain
passes and dangerous mud slides that sometimes occur in the winter months in
California. With plenty of mountains located in the southern part of the
state, riders might expect to race on the training grounds currently used by the
likes of Discovery and Health Net.
The race will consist of 16 teams of 8 riders each, and the sponsors hope to
lure in European teams interested in training in California prior to the race.
The current list of teams signed on to participate in this inaugural race are:
Discovery Channel Professional Cycling Team
Health Net Presented by Maxxis
The finish cities will also host health and wellness festivals, along with
entertainment, bike safety areas and kid zones. AEG also promises to focus
on the athletes in this race, paying special attention to the road conditions
and accommodations for the cyclists, and have included Tour de France top ten
finisher Levi Leipheimer as their liaison for accomplishing these goals for the
participants. Levi spoke a few words, saying he hopes a big tour like this
will inspire future generations of cyclists, such as the Red Zinger did for him
as a youth. Smiling broadly, Levi thanked all who have worked so hard to
make this tour a reality, and mused that "the Tour de France is getting
The title sponsor will be Amgen, the world's largest biotechnology company,
and a leading California company with headquarters located in Thousand Oaks.
Known for producing cancer-fighting and kidney disease drugs, Amgen is also the
manufacturer of EPO. Amgen has signed on as title sponsor for five years
with a $35 million commitment to the race, and hope to raise awareness of the
inappropriate uses of EPO. Used appropriately, EPO is vital for
health and well-being in patients struggling with cancer and kidney disease, and
was not meant to be used by athletes to enhance their performances, a fact they
hope to make better known as the race rolls on.
With plans to make the Amgen Tour of California a show case event to rival
"that race in France", big plans are in the works to make the 2006 inaugural
edition something special. The Amgen Tour of California...it's a go!
Scenes around Santa Barbara, California