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Tour of California announces host cities for 2018 race

The expected jersey leaders line up at the start line of stage 1 at the Amgen Tour of California on May 14, 2017 in Sacramento, California. (DANA GARDNER/ SHUTTERSTOCK)

ASSOCIATED PRESS , BY ASSOCIATED PRESS

LOS ANGELES — The Tour of California is returning to some familiar and iconic locations next year, including a finish atop Gibraltar Road on the second stage from Ventura to Santa Barbara County.

Race organizers announced the host cities for North America's biggest stage race on Thursday.

The seven-stage men's race will begin May 13 with a stage in Long Beach, then travel north to a hilly second stage. The third stage returns to Mazda Raceway Laguna Seca, a potentially decisive time trial in San Jose makes up the fourth stage, and three more stages take riders to Sacramento.

The three-stage women's race starts May 17 and mirrors the final three stages of the men's race.

George Bennett was a surprising overall winner this year, while world champion and fan favorite won the sprints classification. Daniel Jaramillo won the kind of the mountains jersey.