Tour of California rides into South Lake Tahoe Monday

Bill Rozak
Special to the Sierra Sun

SOUTH LAKE TAHOE — The 14th Amgen Tour of California, where grown men are drawn to be weird and professional cyclists tests their limits in the Sierra, returns next week to Lake Tahoe.

Professional cyclists from all parts of the world and accompanying caravans will converge on the South Shore on the afternoon of Monday, May 13, for Stage 2 of the country’s most prestigious race and only UCI Tour event in the country, the premier men’s elite circuit.

The race begins Sunday and ends Saturday, May 18, in Pasadena, California, and covers 773 miles over seven stages.

That gives fans a chance over seven days to watch the best in the world do things we wish we could do, and also to be flat out weird and maybe get caught on NBC cameras for a second or two.

Yes, there will be some rolling road closures along the course on Pioneer Trail between 3 and 4 p.m., but don’t get caught up scowling at the peloton going by, go join the fun.

Find a crowded spot along the 133-mile route, that features 14,500 feet of climbing, that begins in Rancho Cordova and traverses over Carson Pass on California Route 88 before turning left on 89 and into the basin over Luther Pass and down into Meyers.

Luther Pass should be a popular spot.

The route turns onto Pioneer Trail and takes a right onto Ski Run Boulevard and finishes at Heavenly Mountain Resort’s California Lodge.

Last year the peloton trudged over Daggett Pass on Kingsbury Grade and fans packed the road near the summit.

A man sporting a bright canary yellow cycling jersey with shorts to match and a helmet featuring longhorns jutting out 2 to 3 feet from each side ran alongside riders a few hundred yards before reaching the summit.

He made sure to keep his distance, as did the riders.

Another man wore a full American flag onesie with a hoodie. He sprinted uphill alongside riders.

The stage begins at 9:20 a.m. and riders are expected to hit the finish line at Heavenly around 3:35 p.m. where an awards ceremony will be held.

A finish line festival for all begins at noon and features exhibitors, family activities, awareness education for cancer and cardiovascular, and food/beverage for purchase.

People interested in the festival and who want to watch the grueling finish should either walk, bike or take public transit.

Fans can also get a free hat at the Visit Rancho Cordova Booth at the stage start and travel to Lake Tahoe and receive a free pin from the Tahoe South booth.

For those who can’t be there in person to watch the riders enter Lake Tahoe, NBCSN is covering the race live from 1 to 4 p.m., from cameramen on motorcycles and from a helicopter.

NBC Sports Group’s cycling commentators Phil Liggett and Bob Roll will call the action along with field reporter Steve Schlanger and former Amgen Tour of California participant Christian Vande Velde. “Inside-the-Race” correspondent Steve Porino will report from aboard a motorcycle on the course, offering updates on race situations. Jens Voigt, who had three career top-10 Amgen Tour of California finishes and is the co-record holder for most Tour de France starts (17), returns for his fifth year as a featured analyst and reporter.

For route maps and information, visit:

Bill Rozak is a reporter for the Tahoe Daily Tribune, a sister publication of the Sierra Sun based in South Lake Tahoe. Contact him at

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