SANTA CRUZ, CA - MAY 14: Peter Sagan of Slovokia riding for Liquigas-Cannondale rides in the peloton during stage two of the Amgen Tour of California from San Francisco to Santa Cruz on May 14, 2012 in Santa Cruz, California. (Photo by Ezra Shaw/Getty Images)
The Amgen Tour of California bike race is switching things up next year. Instead of having cyclists go north to south, the racers will start in Southern California and end the eight day race here in the Bay Area.
The race is considered the country's most prestigious professional road cycling stage race. The 750 mile ride will take place next May.
The last leg will take cyclists from San Francisco to Santa Rosa on Sunday, May 19.
The Golden State provides a variety of beautiful yet challenging terrain for both spectators and riders.
"I'm very excited to hear about the new South - North route for the 2013 Amgen Tour of California,” said Chris Horner, 2011 Amgen Tour of California champion. “After growing up in San Diego, I love seeing the race back on the roads I've ridden for the past 25 years. Being welcomed by thousands of fans in Escondido in 2009 was a highlight of my career.”
Here's the 12-city tour:
Stage 1: Sunday, May 12 – Escondido
Stage 2: Monday, May 13 – Murrieta to Greater Palm Springs
Stage 3: Tuesday, May 14 – Palmdale to Santa Clarita
Stage 4: Wednesday, May 15 – Santa Clarita to Santa Barbara
Stage 5: Thursday, May 16 – Santa Barbara to Avila Beach
Stage 6: Friday, May 17 – San Jose (Individual Time Trial)
Stage 7: Saturday, May 18 – Livermore to Mt. Diablo
Stage 8: Sunday, May 19 – San Francisco to Santa Rosa