For the second year in a row, Lake Tahoe will not be along the route of the 2013 Amgen Tour of California, an annual week-long Tour de France-style cycling road race across the Golden State.
Twelve cities in the Bay Area and in Southern California were announced Tuesday to be the 2013 hosts along the race route. No Sierra Nevada cities are included. The division of the route into a south to north course is the first split in the eight-year race's history.
"We were surprised they didn't at least come up to Sacramento," said Nevada City Mayor Duane Strawser, who played crucial roles in bringing Amgen to Nevada City previously.
Considered among America's largest road cycling stage races, the eighth consecutive edition of the Amgen Tour of California will travel approximately 750 miles from May 12-19.
Nevada City previously hosted the opening stage of the race in 2010 and 2011.
Famed cyclist Lance Armstrong, recently mired in a doping scandal and stripped of many of his titles, played a sizable part in successfully advocating starting the 2010 Amgen race route in Nevada City, after winning the 2009 Nevada City Classic.
In 2011, when a snowstorm disrupted the planned Lake Tahoe opening stage of the race, stage two of that route was shortened and the starting point moved to Nevada City from Squaw Valley.
It isn't fair to expect Amgen to come to Nevada City year after year, Strawser said.
"There are hundreds of other cities that deserve (an Amgen stop)," Strawser said. "As a cyclist, I want to see this thing shared around other communities."
Yet Strawser continues to lobby Amgen for future races.
"We're angled more toward 2014," he said. "We're busy trying to get communities in this region together and make a viable option next year. To make this happen, no one is going to offer anything. It has to be strength in numbers and presenting the route to them.
Strawser is in talks with Redding, Chico and the Tahoe communities to work together to attract Amgen, he said.
"I would say we have very good chance of getting another race up here in the future," Strawser said. "I'm very positive that we are going to be included sooner than rather, but we're really at the mercy of cooperation with the communities around us. If anyone bails, the rest of us are collateral damage."
The first stage of the 2013 race will begin and finish in Escondido, a northern San Diego town that had previously hosted the 2009 Amgen overall finish.
The second stage of the race will begin the next day and take riders through the hot desert terrain from Murrieta to Greater Palm Springs, two cities making their race debut.
The third stage of the race will return to Palmdale for a stage start and then travel approximately 100 miles west to the city of Santa Clarita, which has hosted the race in 2007, 2008, 2009 and 2011.
Santa Clarita will also serve as the start of the fourth stage. From there, the cyclists will ride north toward the Pacific Coast and Santa Barbara, which last hosted the race in 2008. The race will remain in Santa Barbara for the start of the fifth stage, taking cyclists north to Avila Beach for the Stage 5 finish.
San Jose will host the sixth stage's start and the individual time trial, marking the eighth consecutive year the race has visited the city and the only city that has participated in all eight editions.
Stage 7 will start in Livermore and head to Mt. Diablo for an intense mountaintop finish.
The eighth and final stage of the 2013 Amgen Tour will start in San Francisco and finish in Santa Rosa, which hosted the official race start last year.
Amgen returns as the race's title sponsor for the eighth consecutive year.
"The Amgen Tour of California has provided a platform for us to extend the reach of Breakaway from Cancer, a collaboration between Amgen and four nonprofit organizations dedicated to empowering patients through education, resources, and hope," said Bob Azelby, vice president and general manager, Amgen Oncology. "Given Amgen's mission to serve patients, we look forward to honoring cancer survivors and their loved ones in the host communities as the race travels throughout California."
Carrying an elite distinction, the Amgen Tour of California is listed on the international professional cycling calendar, awarding important, world-ranking points to the top finishers. The race draws global attention, including Olympic medalists, World Champions and the top Tour de France competitors.
"Taking the Amgen Tour of California from south to north is something we always knew we wanted to do, and we are thrilled with the way things have come together for 2013," said Kristin Bachochin, executive director of the Amgen Tour of California and senior vice president of AEG Sports, in a statement.
"We think this will bring a whole new element to the competition for the elite cyclists who participate, not to mention some striking California scenery for our worldwide audience," Bachochin said. "California provides a variety of beautiful yet challenging terrain, helping us achieve our goal of creating a challenging route year after year while showcasing the very best this state has to offer."
For more information on the 2013 Amgen Tour of California and to view the 2013 Amgen Tour of California map, visit www.AmgenTourofCalifornia.com.