2016 Amgen Tour of California men’s and women’s Tahoe stage routes announced
SOUTH LAKE TAHOE — In a press release this week, officials with the 2016 Amgen Tour of California pro cycling competition announced course details for this year’s stage race. The Lake Tahoe portion of the men’s and women’s competitions will include iconic vistas along the 72-mile circumference of the lake as well as a challenging route though backcountry terrain in Hope Valley.
“It’s the best of the best — the High Sierra climbs and routes for the elite cyclists will be challenging, extreme, and we anticipate another tight and thrilling competition,” said Carol Chaplin, executive director of the Lake Tahoe Visitors Authority. “Tahoe South and our partners welcome back the cyclists, sponsors, fans and media to our area for another spring day of racing and cheering.”
The annual competition will once again include more than 350 of the world’s top cyclists. The men’s Stage 5 will begin in Lodi, California, and finish at Heavenly Mountain Resort’s California Base Lodge in South Lake Tahoe totaling 132.4 miles. The women’s Stage 1 will also start and finish at Heavenly totaling 72.7 miles. Both the men’s and women’s stages will take place May 19.
“North Lake Tahoe is recognized as a premier human-powered sports destination and is proud to partner with Tahoe South for the Amgen Tour of California,” said JT Thompson, tourism director of North Lake Tahoe Resort Association. “The race is a great opportunity to show off the cycling product around Lake Tahoe as well as its amazing hospitality.”
South Lake Tahoe and partners hosted two days of the Amgen Tour of California women’s race last year. This year will be the first day of the four-day women’s event. Featuring a long day of climbing, the stage will reach its highest elevation ever mounted at 8,600 feet.
With approximately 160 female athletes, the competition begins between 10-11 a.m. The course will consist of a 72-mile clockwise lap around the perimeter of Lake Tahoe, providing competitors with technical challenges, twisting descents and fast straightaways.
The climb along the West Shore will overlook Emerald Bay and Cascade Lake before continuing along Highway 89 into Tahoe City. From there, the peloton will head through Kings Beach, passing into the state of Nevada at Crystal Bay and Incline Village. After passing above Sand Harbor State Park, the race will continue east with a 1,000-foot ascent to U.S. Highway 50 near Spooner Lake. Racers then descend into Zephyr Cove before facing the climb back into South Lake Tahoe as they near the finish line.
In a slight variation from last year’s women’s race, cyclists will leave Highway 50 and enter onto Pioneer Trail then to Ski Run Boulevard and finish at the California Base Lodge at Heavenly. The athletes should finish between 1-2 p.m. There will be a 20-minute rolling stop in the procession, which takes about three hours to circumnavigate the entire lake.
Meanwhile, the men’s race will feature approximately 200 athletes, some of which will be tuning up for the Tour de France later in the season. Stage 5 of their race will start is in Lodi, and will travel over Highway 88 passing Kirkwood Mountain Resort. The men will face hairpin turns and climbs passing several alpine lakes before reaching Hope Valley — between Kirkwood Mountain Resort and South Lake Tahoe. They will then turn at Pickett’s Junction onto Highway 89, for a challenging ascent to the 7,740-foot summit of Luther Pass and then steep grade descent into the Tahoe Basin arriving at around 3 p.m.
Athletes will pass through Meyers and travel into South Lake Tahoe via the southwest along Pioneer Trail, to Ski Run Boulevard, and finish at around 3:45 p.m. at Heavenly’s California Lodge.
With the men’s course there will be 20-minute rolling stops as they arrive in the Lake Tahoe Basin and until they cross the finish line. Event organizers anticipate a 1-hour, 45-minute gap between the men’s and women’s races.
Local law enforcement, race and tourism officials created routes with the least impact to residents and visitors. Travelers should expect 20-minute delays along the courses while they are passing through the area. Specific road information will be provided at a later date.
The competition moves to Folsom, California, on Friday, May 20, with both the men and women’s time trials. The women are part of the Union Cycliste Internationale (UCI) Women’s World Tour (WWT), which is the world’s leading series for professional women cyclists. The men’s eight-stage course will lead World Champions, Olympic Medalists, top Tour de France competitors and other elite professional cyclists — south to north — for only the second time since it began in 2006. The race spans nearly 800 miles between 12 host cities through California’s breathtaking roads and scenery, May 15-22.
For more information, visit http://www.amgentourofcalifornia.com.