Thursday, April 19 , 2018, 2:47 pm | Fair and Breezy 68º

 
 
 
 

Santa Barbara County a Finish Spot for Amgen Tour

Queen Stage 2 culminates atop Gibraltar Road on May 14

Amgen Tour cyclists break through finish line on Gibraltar Road in 2016 race.
Amgen Tour cyclists break through finish line on Gibraltar Road in 2016 race. (AEG)

Santa Barbara County will host the Queen Stage 2 finish of the 2018 Amgen Tour of California men’s competition on May 14, when the prestigious cycling stage race returns for its 13th edition, AEG, owners of the annual event, have announced.

This marks the ninth time, and sixth consecutive year, the Santa Barbara region has hosted the seven-stage, 600-mile tour, which begins May 13 in Long Beach and concludes May 19 in Sacramento.

For the second time in three years, the peloton will finish atop the iconic Gibraltar Road climb at La Cumbre Peak.

“The Tour of California is one of the most important races in the UCI America Tour, and it is an honor for Santa Barbara County to host one of the most rigorous stages of the race,” said county representatives.

“We are thrilled to welcome fans, athletes and sponsors for what promises to be an epic Stage 2 finish," they said. "We enjoy a strong cycling culture and anticipate an electric atmosphere as we help cheer on the athletes as they ride up the imposing climb.

"The phenomenal views and fan support should push the riders to a strong finish.”

The 2018 host cities include the return of fan and race team favorites, long-time veterans like San Jose and Sacramento, and two first-time destinations: Ventura and King City.

A favored site for the women’s race, South Lake Tahoe will again host the men for the Stage 6 finish and welcome back the women for the fourth year in a row.

The peloton will revisit Stockton and Long Beach for the first time in 11 years, with the men’s overall start overlooking the Long Beach waterfront. Folsom returns as a third-time host for an epic stage through the Sierra Nevada mountains.

The overall conclusion of both races on the same day in Sacramento will provide spectators the opportunity to cheer on favorites across both fields.

The Amgen Tour of California Women's Race empowered with SRAM, showcasing the world’s best women cyclists, will run concurrently May 17-19, covering upward of 150 miles over three stages.

The annual professional cycling events carry the distinction of being the only U.S. races on the UCI WorldTour calendar and attract some of the most renowned cyclists and teams in the world.

With seven new courses between them, this is the 11th consecutive year the event has featured an international platform for men’s and women’s racing.

Host city information and a highlight video are available at www.amgentourofcalifornia.com and https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=KxfHJyTpjkY.

“The 2018 Amgen Tour of California will captivate fans everywhere with all-star pelotons and new routes that showcase the incredible beauty of the Golden State,” said Kristin Klein, president of the Amgen Tour of California and executive vice president of AEG Sports.

“With a mix of host cities that highlight the diversity of California, from urban to remote, ocean to desert, forests to mountains, the race continues its tradition as a dynamic and anticipated event on the international calendar,” she said.

The Amgen Tour of California is designed to cover a variety of terrain, allowing different types of specialists among the field of the world’s greatest cyclists to shine throughout the week.

In addition to the Queen Stage from Ventura to the summit of Gibraltar Road in Santa Barbara County, highlights of the men’s race will include a challenging mountain stage with an uphill finish at 6,500 feet elevation in South Lake Tahoe on day six.

Similar to 2017, the women’s overall will be contested on the high-altitude Queen Stage in South Lake Tahoe, featuring one of the biggest climbs in the UCI Women’s WorldTour. Sprinters will find their opportunities on the first and last stages of the race.

Title sponsor Amgen has been a race partner since race inception. In 2005, Amgen launched Breakaway from Cancer, its national initiative to increase awareness of resources available to people affected by cancer, from prevention through survivorship.

Amgen expanded its platform in 2016 to launch Breakaway from Heart Disease, encouraging Americans to have a plan to tackle heart disease by understanding their risk via diagnostic screening and taking charge of their heart health through diet, exercise and appropriate treatment options.

To learn more, visit breakawayfromcancer.com and breakawayfromheartdisease.com.

“At Amgen, our mission is to serve patients, and for more than 35 years we have reached millions of people with our medicines,” said Laura Hamill, senior vice president, U.S Business Operations, Amgen.

“Our sponsorship of the Amgen Tour of California gives us a platform to discuss, educate and empower people to have hope and believe in drug innovation to live a longer, healthier life,” Hamill said.

In addition to lining the race course for free, fans have the opportunity to experience the race as a VIP from a hospitality tent or through other opportunities. To learn more, visit amgentourofcalifornia.com/vipaccess or call 213-742-7145.

— Natalie Bovee for Visit Santa Barbara.

 
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