Professional bicyclists will return to a familiar north-south route through Santa Barbara during Stage 5 of the Amgen Tour of California in May.

Stage 5 of this year’s Amgen Tour of California professional bike race will run north to south, from Pismo Beach to Santa Barbara. (Amgen Tour of California map)

Officials for the race on Thursday announced the exact route and times for the 2014 race, which will feature 12 host cities, including a start in Sacramento.

The ninth edition of America’s largest cycling race will lead cyclists on a more than 700-mile trek across California on May 11-18.

Officials announced the host cities last November.

The eight-day stage race will travel north to south — as opposed to last year’s south-to-north route — and stop midway in Santa Barbara on Thursday, May 15, finishing a Stage 5 day that starts in Pismo Beach, a first-time host city.

Cyclists will begin Stage 6 in Santa Clarita.

Because of the change in race direction, cyclists will come barreling down Highway 154 in Santa Barbara at high rates of speed before linking up with Las Positas Road, Cliff Drive and Shoreline Drive, and then toward a sprinting finish on Cabrillo Boulevard.

Visit Santa Barbara, the South Coast’s tourism marketing organization, released a map of the route Thursday — essentially a reverse of last year’s start in Santa Barbara.

The city is hosting the race for the second consecutive year, and for the fifth time in its history. Last year, Santa Barbara boasted both a start and finish.

The fist day of Amgen racing will begin and finish in the state’s capital of Sacramento, which previously hosted 2009’s prologue and stage finishes in 2007, 2008, 2010 and 2011.

Cyclists also will travel through host cities of Folsom, San Jose, Mount Diablo, Monterey, Cambria, Santa Clarita, Mountain High and Pasadena before finishing in Thousand Oaks.

Click here for full route information.

Noozhawk staff writer Gina Potthoff can be reached at gpotthoff@noozhawk.com. Follow Noozhawk on Twitter: @noozhawk, @NoozhawkNews and @NoozhawkBiz. Connect with Noozhawk on Facebook.