AEG, the presenter of the 2012 Amgen Tour of California, has announced the 13 host cities for the 750-mile race that will begin in Santa Rosa on May 13 and finish at L.A. Live on May 20.
Among the highlights, the race will return to San Francisco and there will be mountain finishes at Big Bear Ski Resort and Mt. Baldy.
This is the seventh consecutive race; Chris Horner was the 2011 winner. Because of financial considerations, the popular Solvang time trial has been replaced by a Stage 5 that ends in Bakersfield.
[Updated at 9:10 a.m.: An earlier version of this post incorrectly said the defending champion is Dave Zabriskie.]
Sonora is a new host city, and riders will traverse part of the Sierra Nevada before heading south to Clovis.
The host cities for the race include: Stage 1, May 13, Santa Rosa; Stage 2, May 14, San Francisco to Santa Cruz County; Stage 3, May 15, San Jose to Livermore; Stage 4, May 16, Sonora to Clovis; Stage 5, May 17, Bakersfield time trial; Stage 6, May 18, Palmdale to Big Bear Lake; Stage 7, May 19, Ontario to Mt. Baldy; Stage 8, May 20, L.A. Live.
Check out the event's official website for more details.
-- Diane Pucin
Photo: Cyclists make their way past Big Bear Lake while competing in the 2010 Amgen Tour of California. Credit: Gina Ferazzi / Los Angeles Times