The Amgen Tour of California is America’s largest road cycling race and one of the nation’s most recognized annual sporting events that brings the drama and excitement of professional cycling to California for the 12th consecutive year. As part of that, the Amgen Breakaway from Heart DiseaseTM Women’s Race empowered with SRAM will run May 11-14. The prestigious four-day stage race features elite professional women’s teams and athletes from around the world competing over 256.6 miles through South Lake Tahoe, Elk Grove and Sacramento.
Over the course of the last decade, the annual women’s event has grown from a one-day race to a UCI Women’s World Tour stage race, a designation reserved for the top women’s races in the world. The teams selected for 2017, and the riders who compete for those teams, will comprise the strongest field to assemble in the United States this year.
Familiar Faces This Year
Some of the most established names in the sport will participate in the 2017 edition, including three-time national champion, and last year’s winner, Megan Guarnier (Glens Falls, NY). The 2015 race champion Trixi Worrack, who suffered a near career-ending injury as a result of a crash last year, will return with her Canyon/SRAM team to take another crack at the title, and Sho-Air TWENTY20’s 20-year-old sensation Chloé Dygert (Bremerton, Washington), who won Olympic silver and a World Championship title as part of the Women’s Pursuit Team last year, will return to the race this year as well.
Kristin Armstrong, the most decorated woman in U.S. cycling history has been named as one of the Amgen Tour of California’s official Race Ambassadors, joining Jens Voight and Freddie Rodriguez who are returning in these roles. Armstrong returns to the Amgen Tour of California in this new [non-competitive] capacity on the heels of her incredible performance, winning her third Olympic gold medal at the Rio Olympic Games last summer.
Cycling events like this provide many occasions for fans to interact with the riders, including at the beginning of each race day when the riders begin arriving at near the start line around 8 a.m. The competitors and their entire support team arrive in team vans, often in their racing uniforms, and provide fans with the opportunity to interact with the teams and perhaps take photos with favorite riders. After equipment checks and warm-ups, riders will walk to the announcer’s stage to officially sign in for the race day. There is another chance for photos and autographs as riders congregate near the stage. Their accessibility is one of the many reasons fans show up early on race day.
The first three race days begin around 10:30am PDT, with the final day beginning at 12:45pm. Each day’s 40-80-mile route is filled with exciting attacks and team strategy as riders compete not only for the overall stage win but also for one of the coveted leader jerseys, from leading the overall race to sub-competitions like performance on the course’s sprints and climbs. Toward the end of the race, fans line up rows deep to cheer the leaders as they furiously sprint toward the finish line around 2pm.
The 2017 race champion will be decided on the Sunday, in the shadow of the State Capitol building in Sacramento. The fast, flat 2.2-mile course features 20 laps of the six-turn circuit, beginning shortly after the men depart the course to start their seven-day event.
“These athletes give their all to create some of the most memorable sporting moments I’ve ever witnessed. It’s a testament to the growth of cycling, and women’s cycling in particular, and this race and our fans continue to grow year over year, along with the level of competition.” Said Kristin Klein, race president and executive vice president of AEG Sports.
More information and race-day updates can be found at http://www.amgentourofcalifornia.com/