Amgen Tour of California coming to Lake Tahoe; two stages on South Shore |

Amgen Tour of California coming to Lake Tahoe; two stages on South Shore

Cyclists compete in the Amgen Tour of California Women's Ride last year. The 2015 women’s race will be hold its first two stages in Lake Tahoe May 8-9.
Courtesy Amgen Tour of California |

For the first time, 14 of the top women’s cycling teams from around the world will vie for the Amgen Tour of California women’s race title — and they will do so on local ground. The three-stage cycling competition will contest its first two stages in Lake Tahoe May 8 and 9. Union Cycliste International is sanctioning the race, denoting it the highest level for a non-World Cup event.

“As one of the country’s most enthusiastic cycling destinations, Tahoe South and our partners look forward to hosting the event,” said Carol Chaplin, executive director of the Lake Tahoe Visitors Authority. “It should highlight the talent and elevate the awareness of women cyclists and the Tahoe area.”

The start and finish line for both stages are located at Heavenly Mountain Resort’s California Main Lodge. Stage 1 on Friday, May 8, consists of a 74-mile clockwise lap around the perimeter of Lake Tahoe and provides a bit of everything — twisting descents, fast straights, two challenging Queen of the Mountains (riders completing the climbs in the lowest cumulative time) and stunning views. The debut as part of the 10th anniversary edition Amgen Tour of California and the first three-day women’s stage race of its kind begins at 10 a.m. in South Lake Tahoe.

The climb along the West Shore overlooks iconic Emerald Bay and Cascade Lake, and continues along the scenic shoreline into Tahoe City. The peloton proceeds through Kings Beach, passing into the state of Nevada at historic Crystal Bay and Incline Village.

“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, North Lake Tahoe Resort Association’s tourism director. “Furthermore, NLTRA is hosting the USA Cycling Amateur Road National Championships this coming June with over 1,000 cyclists expected to enter the competition.”

Athletes will experience the breathtaking views above Sand Harbor State Park while racing continues east with a 1,000-foot ascent to Highway 50 near Spooner Lake. Racers then descend into Zephyr Cove before embarking on a climb back into South Lake Tahoe as they near the finish line. Cyclists will leave Highway 50 at Lake Parkway and wind their way behind the casinos toward the finish line with the brutal climb up a 15-percent grade. This opening stage will produce a worthy winner from the international field.

Stage 2 on Saturday, May 9, begins at 10:30 a.m. The 50-mile, two-loop race will take cyclists along Pioneer Trail, South Upper Truckee Road and State Route 89. After a descent from Heavenly, they will ride off to the beautiful canyons of State Route 89.

The second half of the course features the switchback Queen of the Mountain challenge followed by the climb up Ski Run Blvd. to the finish line, concluding two challenging days in Lake Tahoe.

Following the two stages in Lake Tahoe, the third and final stage of the competition is in Sacramento on Sunday, May 10.

Local law enforcement along with race and tourism officials created routes designed to have the least impact on residents and visitors. Travelers should expect 20-minute delays along the courses on both days while the race is passing through a given point. Specific road information will be provided at a later date.

Powerhouse teams such as Velocio-SRAM (formerly Team Specialized-lululemon) — which ranked second in the world last season — and Alé-Cipollini boast rosters with some of the most decorated women in the sport will compete in what many experts believe will be the best women’s cycling event ever to take place on U.S. soil. Several of the teams expected to put forward top contenders for the overall win are also mounting counterparts in the men’s race, including Optum p/b Kelly Benefit Strategies, BMW p/b Happy Tooth Dental (under the same management as Team SmartStop) and UnitedHealthcare Pro Cycling Team.

The full list of teams that will race May 8-10 includes Alé-Cipollini, BMW p/b Happy Tooth Dental, Canada National Team, Colavita|Bianchi p/b Fine Cooking, Grassi Pro Cycling Team Mexico, Itau Shimano Ladies Power Team, Optum p/b Kelly Benefit Strategies, Pearl Izumi Sports Tours International, Pepper Palace Pro Cycling p/b The Happy Tooth, Team TIBCO-SVB, Twenty16 p/b Sho-Air, UnitedHealthcare Pro Cycling Team, Velocio-SRAM, Xirayas de San Luis.

Full rosters will be available in May for the first of its kind three-day stage race as well as the Invitational Time Trial event. Lake Tahoe will be one of 14 host cities for elite cyclists from around the world, thousands of cycling fans and a global audience.

For further information about the Amgen Tour of California and to experience the race like never before with VIP Access, visit

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