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Tour of California confirms Santa Rosa start, other stages

  • 5/18/2010: C4:
    PC: Brett Lancaster leads the final sprint to the finish line down Third St. in Santa Rosa to win the 2nd stage of Amgen Tour of California on a rainy Monday, May 17, 2010.

Santa Rosa will host the overall start of the eight-day Amgen Tour of California next May, with stages in five other Northern California cities before the bicyle race heads south, organizers confirmed Thursday.

It is a prestigious designation for Santa Rosa, which has hosted starts or finishes for five of the tour's six years.

And it sets the stage for a week of events, from concerts to parties.

Amgen Tour Of California, Stage 2

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"With the overall start, everyone will be assembling in Santa Rosa a week out," said professional racer Levi Leipheimer of Santa Rosa, who has won the tour three times.

"You will have the entire media, teams, organizers and sponsors a week beforehand," Leipheimer said. "We will get more attention as well, people will talk about it.

He said it is an indication of how much support Santa Rosa gives to cycling.

"Santa Rosa has a passionate bike community and the community has always been open to hosting the race," Leipheimer said. "They put on a great race every year and that is something the organizers ... have commented on. Santa Rosa is the gold standard."

The first stage will be in downtown Santa Rosa on May 13, a Sunday, and the tour ends 750 miles later, on May 20, in Los Angeles.

Thirteen other cities also were designated Thursday to host a start or finish, of 100 that applied, according to AEG Sports of Los Angeles, the owner of the event.

The second stage is from San Francisco, with a backdrop of the Golden Gate Bridge, along the coast to Santa Cruz County, followed by San Jose to Livermore and Sonora to Clovis.


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