For the first time in its history, the Amgen Tour of California Women’s race empowered with SRAM is coming to southern California, and we couldn’t be more excited. The variety of terrain, sights and sounds of the three-day competition promises to be just as demanding as the northern stages of the past, but with a fresh, new SoCal flair. The race organization has designed challenging routes that take the best racers in the world from the coastal paradise of Ventura to the summit of Mt. Baldy, culminating at the world-famous Rose Bowl in Pasadena.
Ventura is known for its vibrant cycling community, making it the perfect send-off for the women’s peloton in this edition of the race. The out and back course starts in Ventura, heads through scenic Ojai Valley to the beachside town of Carpinteria, then turns back towards the beach and the Ventura County Fairgrounds for the finish. There’s no easing into things, over the 61-mile course, the peloton will tackle five queen of the mountain summits for a total of 5,000 feet of climbing, and it’s only the first day. A short but steep climb up Ferro Drive with 5km to go may thin out the lead pack but fans can expect an exciting sprint finish down on the waterfront. The riders will have to find their climbing legs and fast because the next stage takes on the fearsome Mt. Baldy.
More than forty miles and 7,300 feet of climbing await the riders on stage 2. Heading north from the start in Ontario, the peloton has about 13 miles of riding through Upland, and toward the summit finish of Mt. Baldy. It’s here where the winner of the Amgen Tour of California Women’s Race empowered with SRAM is most likely to be crowned. The 26.5-mile drag to the Mt. Baldy Resort takes in 6,400 feet of climbing with an average gradient of six percent. Then the road kicks up even more when it turns on to Mt. Baldy Road. The last ten switchbacks average 9.4 percent with a maximum of almost 13 percent. With plenty of spectators lining the road, the finale of the stage is guaranteed to be a thrilling ride to one of the highest points in southern California.
It may be the final day of the race, but stage three is just as big of a test as days prior. Starting in Santa Clarita, the 72-mile stage has more than 8,000 feet of elevation with one QOM on tap before dropping down to the San Gabriel Valley and into the City of Roses. The route is almost identical to the one the men’s race is up against, with the larger than life setting of the Rose Bowl to welcome the peloton home after a testing three days of racing.