Amgen returning to Tahoe |

Amgen returning to Tahoe

by Bill Rozak
Riders in the Amgen Tour of California head north on Foothill Rd. Friday morning in Gardnerville.
Brad Coman |

The 13th annual Amgen Tour of California is returning to South Lake Tahoe in 2018. The women’s race will visit the community for a fourth straight year.

Stage 6 of the men’s race, which starts in Folsom, and Stage 2 of the women’s race each will finish May 18, at Heavenly Mountain Resort. Last year the women passed through Carson Valley on Foothill Road and over Kingsbury.

Both bicycle stage races finish May 19, in Sacramento.

Some of the best cyclists in the world will traverse 600-plus miles of highways and back roads during the seven stages of the men’s race, which starts May 13 in Long Beach and ends at the state capitol. It will be the third time in race history that the peloton will travel the Golden State from south to north.

Stage 2 starts in Ventura and ends in Santa Barbara County. Stage 3 begins in King City and finishes in Monterey County. Stage 4 is a time trial in San Jose. Stage 5 goes from Stockton to Elk Grove.

The Amgen Tour of California Women’s Race will run concurrently May 17-19, covering upward of 150 miles over three stages.

The professional cycling events are the only races on the Union Cycliste Internationale calendar in the United States. The UCI is the governing body for cycling and oversees international competitive events.

“These elite athletes serve as an inspiration to our community, schools, young athletes and visitors alike while generating significant national/international media exposure year after year,” Carol Chaplin, president and CEO of the Lake Tahoe Visitors Authority, said in a press release.

“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,” Kristin Klein, president of the Amgen Tour of California, said in a press release. “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.”

The men’s race covers a variety of terrain, allowing different types of specialists to shine throughout the week. The mountain stage to Heavenly with an uphill finish at 6,500 feet is considered among the race’s highlights.

As was the case in 2017, the 2018 women’s stage in South Lake Tahoe will feature 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.