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Tour of California 2012 will finish at L.A. Live

November 3, 2011 |  5:30 am

The 2012 Amgen Tour of California cycling race route was released Thursday and for the second time in three years it will have a stage finish at L.A. Live, this time the final stage.

After hosting the time trial in 2010, L.A. Live will be the end of the 750-mile race on May 20. The first stage on May 13 will begin in Santa Rosa, home of three-time Tour of California winner Levi Leipheimer.  Other highlights of this year's route include a stage start in Sonora and the time trial in Bakersfield.

Stage 6 next year will begin in Palmdale and end at Big Bear Lake, and Stage 7 will have a start in Ontario, a first-time host city for the event, and will include a climb to the top of Mt. Baldy.

Chris Horner, who lives in San Diego, is the defending champion.

The race has been marked for the past two years by news involving seven-time Tour de France winner Lance Armstrong. In 2010  during the Tour of California the Wall Street Journal first published accusations made by Floyd Landis, where Landis said he witnessed Armstrong using illegal performance-enhancing drugs, and last May another former Armstrong teammate, Tyler Hamilton, was televised on the CBS news program "60 Minutes" making similar accusations against Armstrong, who has been under investigation by a Los Angeles grand jury.

Armstrong, who long has denied such accusations, retired from cycling at the end of the 2010 season.

The 13 host cities for the 2012 Amgen Tour of California include:
•    Stage 1: Sunday, May 13 –- Santa Rosa
•    Stage 2: Monday, May 14 -- San Francisco to Santa Cruz County
•    Stage 3: Tuesday, May 15 -- San Jose to Livermore
•    Stage 4: Wednesday, May 16 -- Sonora to Clovis
•    Stage 5: Thursday, May 17 –- Bakersfield (individual time trial)
•    Stage 6: Friday, May 18 –- Palmdale to Big Bear Lake
•    Stage 7: Saturday, May 19 –- Ontario to Mt. Baldy
•    Stage 8: Sunday, May 20 –- Los Angeles/L.A. Live


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Photo: L.A. Live in downtown Los Angeles. Credit: John W. Adkisson / Los Angeles Times