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Amgen Bike Race Returning to Santa Barbara in 2015

For the third straight year, the city will play host to the prestigious cycling event

Santa Barbara will again serve as a host city for the Amgen Tour of California professional bike race next May, organizers announced Monday.

The eight-stage race, which travels north to south and covers nearly 700 miles, will begin in Sacramento on May 10 and end in Pasadena on May 17.

Santa Barbara will serve as the starting point for Stage 5, which ends in Santa Clarita, on Thursday, May 14.

The 2015 race will mark the third consecutive year that Santa Barbara has been a host city, and the sixth time in its 10-year history.

Two other Central Coast communities — Pismo Beach and Avila Beach — also will serve as host cities — for the second straight year. Stage 4 will start in Pismo and end in Avila on Wednesday, May 13.

The 2015 race will again bypass the city of Solvang, which for several years hosted the time trials for the race.

Here is the schedule for the 2015 race:

» Stage 1: Sacramento

» Stage 2: Nevada City to Lodi

» Stage 3: San Jose

» Stage 4: Pismo Beach to Avila Beach

» Stage 5: Santa Barbara to Santa Clarita

» Stage 6: Big Bear Lake (Individual Time Trial)

» Stage 7: Ontario to Mt. Baldy

» Stage 8: Downtown Los Angeles to Pasadena

This year Amgen is also hosting a three-day women's race to be held prior to the men's race. It will be run on Friday and Saturday, May 8 and 9, in South Lake Tahoe, and Sunday, May 10 in Sacramento.

There also will be a women's time trial on Friday, May 15, in Big Bear Lake.

"The Amgen Tour of California is a Tour de France-style cycling road race created and presented by AEG that challenges the world’s top professional cycling teams to compete along a demanding course that traverses hundreds of miles of California’s iconic highways, byways and coastlines each spring," according to organizers.

The teams chosen to participate have included Olympic medalists, Tour de France contenders and world champions.

Amgen Tour of California is listed on the international professional cycling calendar (2 HC, meaning “beyond category”), awarding important, world-ranking points to the top finishers.

More information is available at www.amgentourofcalifornia.com

Noozhawk executive editor Tom Bolton can be reached at .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address). Follow Noozhawk on Twitter: @noozhawk, @NoozhawkNews and @NoozhawkBiz. Connect with Noozhawk on Facebook.

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