Amgen Lake Tahoe: Where to watch men’s, women’s pro cycling races | SierraSun.com

Amgen Lake Tahoe: Where to watch men’s, women’s pro cycling races

Adam Jensen
ajensen@tahoedailytribune.com

SOUTH LAKE TAHOE, Calif. — A pair of professional cycling races are the focus of the Amgen Tour of California's stop this week at Lake Tahoe, but the event will feature a day full of activities with events on both sides of the state line.

About 350 cyclists will compete in this year's tour, which includes women's and men's races at Lake Tahoe on Thursday, May 19.

The overall start of the women's race will take place at Heavenly Mountain Resort's California Lodge at approximately 10:50 a.m. The course takes riders on a 72.7-mile counterclockwise lap around the lake, with riders expected to return to the California Lodge around 2 p.m.

"Stage 1 of the Amgen Tour of California Women's Race empowered with SRAM will complete a full clockwise 72-mile loop of Lake Tahoe, just like the first stage in 2015," according to a description of the course from organizers.

"The high-altitude route will feature an early Queen of the Mountain climb at Emerald Bay on the West Shore before reaching North Lake Tahoe and the communities of Kings Beach and Incline Village. As the race traverses the hilly yet beautiful East Shore, teams will begin working to set up general classification contenders for the short but steep uphill finish to Heavenly Mountain Resort — a 1-mile climb at an approximately 7-percent average gradient."

The Nevada Visitor Center at 169 U.S. Highway 50 in Stateline will host a viewing party of the women's race from 1-2 p.m. May 19.

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The party includes light refreshments, treats by Tahoe Cakes by Grace and a book signing by Andrew M. Homan, author of "Life in the Slipstream — the Legend of Bobby Walthour Sr."

Several other viewing options are also available for the women's race.

"As the women speed around the lake clockwise the best places to watch are Bijou Community Park (10:50 a.m.), Camp Richardson, Emerald Bay, Kings Beach, Crystal Bay, Spooner Summit [intersection of Highway 50 and Highway 28], and Ski Run Boulevard," according to a press release for the event.

Stage 5 of the men's event will start in Lodi, Calif., and reach Meyers via Luther Pass around 3:15 p.m. on May 19. The stage will likely conclude around 3:45 p.m. Riders will follow Pioneer Trail before finishing at California Lodge.

"Stage 5 will usher riders from the beautiful vineyards of Lodi to a long gradual ascent to an uphill finish in South Lake Tahoe, reaching a peak elevation of 8,600 feet — the highest in race history," according to a course description. "The ride, essentially a 130-mile climb that gains in elevation from 50 feet to 6,650 at the finish, will showcase California's diversity, from the rich soil of the Central Valley to the mighty peaks of the Sierra Nevada mountains."

Many of the best locations to view the men's race are south of Lake Tahoe Basin, although several spots in town also offer viewing opportunities.

"The men will endure challenging hairpin turns and climbs passing several alpine lakes before reaching Hope Valley, which is between Kirkwood Mountain Resort and South Lake Tahoe," according to a press release for the event. "They will then turn at Pickett's Junction onto Highway 89, with a breathtaking ascent to the 7,740-foot summit of Luther Pass and then a steep-grade descent into the Tahoe Basin. Recommended spots to cheer and celebrate the men's race include Hope Valley, Highway 89 (Luther Pass), Highway 89 off Cornelian Drive, intersection of Pioneer Trail and Mandan, and intersection of Pioneer Trail and Ski Run Boulevard."

A Lifestyle Festival will also take place from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. at Heavenly Mountain Resort's California Lodge on the day of the races.

"The Lifestyle Festival serves as the central hub for fans to interact with more than 40 exhibitors and other enthusiasts as they wait for the cyclists to cross the finish line," according to the Tour of California. "The daylong event will feature cycling-themed products and demos, cancer and cardiovascular awareness education, family activities, food, entertainment and more."

Festival attendees are encouraged to carpool, bike or take a shuttle to the festival. Shuttles will be available from 9:30 a.m. to 5 p.m. on Thursday. The pick-up location is 1051 Ski Run Blvd. Heavenly Mountain Resort's California Lodge is located at 3860 Saddle Road.

Amgen road closures

Rolling road closures around Lake Tahoe are planned for 10:30 a.m. to 4:15 p.m. Thursday, May 19, for the Tour of California.

“It’s advised to plan accordingly, especially from 1:30-3:30 p.m. and allow an additional 20-30 minutes on each side of an intersection and one hour on each side of Spooner Summit,” according to a press release from Tahoe South and North Lake Tahoe.

The anticipated start of the women’s race from Heavenly is 10:50 a.m. Riders are expected to reach Camp Richardson Resort around 11:10 a.m. and Spooner Summit around 1:20 p.m., with the stage finish around 2 p.m.

The men’s event will start in the morning in Lodi and will reach Meyers via Luther Pass around 3:15 p.m. Stage 5 of the men’s race will likely conclude around 3:45 p.m. Riders will follow Pioneer Trail before finishing in the California Lodge parking area.

For route maps visit http://www.tahoesouth.com/amgen.