The Amgen Tour of California route has been confirmed for 2019, with seven stages starting in Sacramento on Sunday, May 12, and finishing in Pasadena on Saturday, May 28.
Run at the same time as the Giro d’Italia, the first American race to be awarded UCI WorldTour status has historically attracted a variety of riders, with a combination of stages tailored to the sprinters, a time trial and a summit finish high in the mountains.
The 2019 edition will run in seven stages over seven days, over a 1251km course.
This year will include 14 sprints and 25 King of the Mountain climbs, the most in the race’s history.
The Tour of California Women’s Race will be run over three stages alongside the men’s, from May 16-18.
President of the race, Kristin Klein, said: “The Amgen Tour of California is the pinnacle of cycling in America.
“The 2019 race course is incredibly demanding – there’s more climbing and more long road days than ever before.
“With the best of the best in cycling coming to California to contest it, we are in for another memorable race.
“We look forward to shining the spotlight on the beauty of California.”
Last year’s race was won by Team Sky’s young revelation Egan Bernal, after the Colombian won two stages.
Tour of California 2019 route: stage- by-stage
Stage one: Sunday, May 12, Sacramento to Sacrament (143km)
The opening day will see racers roll out of Sacramento across the iconic Tower Bridge and passing through West Sacramento before hugging the Sacramento River into the city of Woodland.
Then the race travels across several rural roads in Yolo County, before turning back towards the start for an expected fast finish.
Stage two: Monday, May 13, Rancho Cordova to South Lake Tahoe (194.5km)
The city of Rancho Cordova will be a new stage host for the 2019 edition, starting at sea level before heading east through the El Dorado Hills.
Huge crowds are expected in Placerville before the peloton heads for the picturesque Mormon Emigrant Trail and Highway 88.
There will also be some testing climbing on the way, with the King of the Mountain line at Carson Pass topping out at 2,627 metres – the highest point the race has ever reached.
A long descent will follow, with a brutally steep finish to South Lake Tahoe.
Stage three: Tuesday, May 14, Stockton to Morgan Hill (207km)
The city of Stockton returns for stage three, before the race route winds around the city and heads towards the HC climb up to Mount Hamilton – 35km of climbing and descending, with two climbs and 25 switchbacks.
The race will return to the eastern slopes of San Jose and into Morgan Hill, site of the 2018 time trial stage.
Stage four: Wednesday, May 15, Laguna Seca to Morro Bay (212.5km)
After a short climb out of Laguna Seca, the race will pass through Seaside, Monterey and Carmel.
There will be gentle rolling landscape along the highway.
After passing through Morro Bay State Park, the riders will tackle a steep test to the finish with Morro Rock over their shoulders.
Stage five: Thursday, May 16, Pismo Beach to Ventura (218.5)km
This stage will also be the start of the Tour of California Women’s Race, with a 96.5km route from Ventura to Ventura.
This stage will trek through San Luis Obispo, Santa Barbara and Ventura Counties, long the cornerstone of this race.
Riding through the Foxen Canyon, famous for its vineyards and wineries, the riders will then head onto the highway before the gruelling climb up San Marcos Pass.
There will be two categorised climbs ahead on Casitas Pass.
The finish will be atop the short 12 per cent climb up Fero Drive.
On the women’s side, there will be a punchy day’s racing with five Queen of the Mountain checkpoints, the final 56km mirroring the men’s race.
Stage six: Friday, May 17, Ontario to Mount Baldy (127.5km)
This is the queen stage of the race, with a return to the Mount Baldy race that thrilled fans in 2011, 2012, 2015 and 2017.
This will also be the first time the women race on the slopes, a favoured training ground for Californian riders, over 74km.
Heading north to the cities of Rancho Cucamonga and Upland, the riders will start a 17km climb to the village of Mount Baldy.
Then there’s a 33km run of narrow and twisting descent down the back of Glendora Mountain Road.
At Ice House Canyon the race takes a hard left turn, before the road climbs with 1.6km to go at 15 per cent to the line.
Stage seven: Saturday, May 18, Santa Clarita to Pasadena (141km)
This will also be the climax of the women’s race, over 115.5km also from Santa Clarita to Pasadena.
The general classification teams will be looking to protect their riders as the sprinters eye the finish line on the final day.
The first climb will come at Mill Creek Summit, before a descent and onto Upper Big Tujunga to the final climb of the race.
A quick dash through La Canada Flintridge follows and down Rosemont Avenue to the famous Rose Bowl for the final line of the race.