May 8, 201710:37 AMThe Weekender

Sacramento kicks off the Amgen Tour of California for third exciting year

Sacramento kicks off the Amgen Tour of California for third exciting year

Photo courtesy of Visit Sacramento

There are no shortage of photo-opps at the Amgen Tour of California, where you can watch riders cross the Tower Bridge in Sacramento.

National Bike Month already has Sacramento spinning its wheels, but the year’s biggest weekend of cycling events will soon begin as the seven-stage, 575-mile Amgen Tour of California bike race rolls into town.

This is the ninth time Sacramento has hosted a stage of the Amgen Tour and the third time it has hosted the start of the race. The fast-paced cycling action will begin near the west end of the Capitol on Sunday, May 14 as the men’s teams ride over Tower Bridge toward the Delta and loop back on a 104-mile course that finishes with three laps around the Capitol and two heart-pounding sprints (View the route map here).

The River City will also host the conclusion of the women’s race, with a stage from Elk Grove to Sacramento on Saturday, May 13 and the overall finish on Sunday, May 14 during which 17 women’s teams will compete in a 90-minute technical circuit that will lap downtown 20 times (View the route map here).

Mike Sophia, director of the Sacramento Sports Commission, estimates that over 30,000 people came out to watch last year’s Amgen race, which culminated in Sacramento for the first time. The sidewalks lining Capitol Mall and the front of the Capitol may be your best bet for viewing the colorful jerseys of riders whirling by, but Sophia also suggests staking a sidewalk claim elsewhere.

“When the peloton goes out across the Tower Bridge and comes back that’s always a great photo opp,” Sophia says. “But if I was not working I’d probably be somewhere in midtown near a restaurant or bar. That’s where the race is really happening. You can watch the full field tilt around corners and through the streets.”

The women's race kicks off in front of the State Capitol in 2015. (Photo courtesy of Visit Sacramento)

Keep an eye peeled for riders like Slovakia-born Peter Sagan, who has won a record 15 stages in the Tour of California and seven in the Tour de France. Cycling fans may get a chance to meet him and other professionals when Concerts in the Park hosts the Amgen Tour of California’s official team presentation for the first time at Cesar Chavez Plaza on Friday, May 12 beginning at 5 p.m. and featuring a line-up of team cars, bike giveaways, fireworks and chances to collect selfies and autographs from the riders.

On May 13 at 10 a.m. and May 14 at 9 a.m., Amgen will launch its Lifestyle Festival in front of the Capitol, with outdoor screens for live viewing, food trucks and live music.

Midtown’s Hot Italian is also turning its back lot into a beer garden on May 14 from 12-6 p.m., for a Giro ‘d Cali Birrieria festival with beer from Saint Archer Brewing Company, free bike valet, prizes and a chance to watch riders race down Q Street.

If you can’t make the Amgen Tour in person, it will air on NBCSN daily and you can follow the action with the event’s Tour Tracker mobile app, which will provide start-to-finish coverage, race details and data, stage overviews and rider information.

For more information, visit amgentourofcalifornia.com.

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