Along with the disclosure of the Tour de France’s route in 2016, more information has been revealed about next year’s top stage races. This time, it’s an environment closer to home for Canadian riders, especially those on the west coast.
The event in question is the 2016 Tour of California, and it’s a route notably similar to past years.
2016’s race follows the same overall route as 2013, starting in San Diego, California and finishing in Sacramento, the state capital. Beginning on May 15, the race will also revisit some of the locales of past years — rather infamous ones, in at least one case. Stage 5, rolling out on May 19, will progress from Lodi to South Lake Tahoe. In 2011, cycling fans may recall, stage 1 of the Tour of California ended in the same place — or at least was intended to, had the weather not intervened. A steady fall of damp, slushy snow shrouded the course that morning, forcing the stage’s cancellation.
It was the first time that a stage was ever cancelled during the Tour of California.
Next year, organizers are taking a gamble that competition near Lake Tahoe will go more smoothly, the climate hopefully proving more agreeable than 2011. There are, of course, the other routes of the race that will take riders through similarly demanding geography, with one of those routes brand new to the competition this year. Stage 3 kicks off at Thousand Oaks and proceeds to Santa Barbara Country, ending with a Vuelta-style mountain finish.
Other features include a stage 1 trek from San Diego to South Pasadena, a second stage culimating in a sprint finish at Santa Clarita, and a scenic stage 4, which will roll from Morro Bay to Monterey County. After that, it’s a stage 5 haul to that infamous South Lake Tahoe finish, while stage 6 brinfs the Folsom Individual Time Trial and Women’s Team Time Trial on May 20.
The last two stages are Santa Rosa on May 21, followed by Sacramento on May 22.
Cities and Stages: 2016 Tour of California
Stage 1 (May 15): San Diego
Stage 2 (May 16): South Pasadena to Santa Clarita
Stage 3 (May 17): Thousand Oaks to Santa Barbara County
Stage 4 (May 18): Morro Bay to Monterey County
Stage 5 (May 19): Lodi to South Lake Tahoe
Stage 6 (May 20): Folsom Individual Time Trial & Women’s Team Time Trial
Stage 7 (May 21): Santa Rosa
Stage 8 (May 22): Sacramento