The 2019 Amgen Tour of California will be the longest and most challenging in its 14-year history will once again return to Central Coast for two stages, including a finish in Morro Bay and a start in Pismo.
Throughout seven stages over seven days, May 12-18, the world’s elite professional cyclists will contest mountain roads, highways and coastlines from Sacramento to Pasadena. The 773-mile course through 13 host cities will ante up 14 sprints, more than 68,000 feet of elevation gain and 25 King of the Mountain (KOM) climbs, the most in race history, and a fan-favorite Mt. Baldy summit finish. More than half of the seven stages feature 120-plus-mile courses.
The Tour is returning to San Luis Obispo County after skipping over the county in 2018 due to the closure of Highway 1 through Big Sur.
Morro Bay will host the finish of the fourth stage of the Tour on May 15, which will start in Monterey and end on Harbor Street by the Post Office. The next day, May 16, the fifth leg of the 7-stage race, will start in Pismo Beach at the Pier and head south.
After a short climb out of the start at Laguna Seca, the race will pass through Seaside, Monterey and Carmel. Highway 1 typifies the beauty of the state and features a gently rolling landscape that drivers may not register, but the cyclists will certainly feel the 11,758 feet’ of climbing on this stage. Past Ragged Point, the course will flatten out for the second sprint of the day in San Simeon.
A fan-favorite, the Morro Bay finish will follow the route from 2017, where Peter Sagan won the sprint finish. After passing through Morro Bay State Park, riders will get their first glimpse of the iconic Morro Rock. A right turn off the Embarcadero, with Morro Rock over their shoulders, will put the racers onto a steep sprint to the finish on Harbor Street.
The following morning, the Tour will set out from Pismo. This stage will highlight the best of San Luis Obispo, Santa Barbara and Ventura counties, which have long been the cornerstone of the Amgen Tour of California. The men’s race will return to Pismo Beach for its third race start. With the beach and refurbished pier as the backdrop, the race will head south on Highway 1 through Grover Beach, Oceano and Guadalupe, with the first of two sprints in Orcutt. Within a few miles, the race will reach Foxen Canyon and the home of countless world-class vineyards and wineries. As the race leaves the vineyards and jumps onto Highway 154 in Los Olivos, the riders will enter the feed zone to replenish some calories. Ahead lays the grueling category climb up San Marcos Pass. A wicked fast descent into Santa Barbara will put the race onto Highway 192 and through the heart of the storm and fire damage from late 2017 and early 2018, where state, county and local agencies have worked tirelessly to repair roads and replace bridges.
After leaving Highway 192, the stage’s final two categorized climbs lie ahead on Casitas Pass. The finish will be within a few miles once the cyclist enter Ventura, which hosted its first stage last year. Riders will contest the final sprint at the summit of a short 12% climb up Fero Drive. The final miles to the Ventura finish line will be intense as the teams set up their sprinters for a field sprint along the Pacific Ocean.
With seven new courses between them, the Amgen Tour of California Women’s Race empowered with SRAM will run concurrently May 16-18, using many of the same routes as the men’s course. Also the longest women’s race in event history, the 177.8-mile, three-stage road race course will see the athletes climb more than 20,800 feet, including eight QOMs.
The Amgen Tour of California is designed to cover varied terrain, with opportunities for sprinters, climbers and general classification riders to shine throughout the week. Presented by Visit California, a visual overview of the men’s and women’s courses is viewable at www.amgentourofcalifornia.com.
“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,” said Kristin Klein, president of the Amgen Tour of California and executive vice president of AEG Sports. “We look forward to shining a spotlight on the beauty of California and the dedication of these athletes for fans, in person and via the worldwide broadcast, in what will be one of the most exciting sporting events in the country this year.”
The Tour of California, which also has an abbreviated race for women, features riders from 34 countries.
For more information about the Amgen Tour of California, see www.amgentourofcalifornia.com.