The first leg of the 2016 Amgen Tour of California bicycle race will take place in San Diego next spring, organizers of the event announced Thursday.
The race, which covers nearly 800 miles of scenic and demanding miles in the state, draws around 200 riders, many of whom are preparing for the Olympics or Tour de France, and receives international media attention.
Olympic gold medalist and 2014 Tour of California champion Brad Wiggins of Great Britain is scheduled to compete in the event, which is scheduled May 15-22. A women’s race will take place over the last four days of the tour.
“Each edition of the Amgen Tour of California is more challenging and more beautiful than the last, and I’m excited to say that this year will be no exception,” said Kristin Klein, race president and executive vice president of AEG Sports.
“With one of the longer courses in race history packed with iconic and fan-favorite locations, the highest caliber of racing on U.S. soil and four days of women’s racing, the worldwide audience the Amgen Tour of California continues to attract has something special to look forward to with the 2016 edition,” she said.
The race attracted large crowds when it came through San Diego County in the past, but it hasn’t been here since 2013. That year, the first leg began in Escondido, climbed Palomar Mountain, and returned to Escondido.
The 2016 race will take place within the San Diego city limits for the first time, with the start and finish planned for downtown and Mission Bay on Sunday, May 15.
Santa Barbara, Santa Clarita, South Pasadena and Thousand Oaks are other Southern California cities that will host early stages of the race, according to the organizers.
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