Tour of California

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Tour of California returns to Gibraltar Road climb in 2018

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LOS ANGELES — The Tour of California is returning to some familiar and iconic locations next year, including a finish atop Gibraltar Road on the second stage from Ventura to Santa Barbara County.

Race organizers announced the host cities for North America’s biggest stage race on Thursday.

The seven-stage men’s race will begin May 13 with a stage in Long Beach, then travel north to a hilly second stage. The third stage returns to Mazda Raceway Laguna Seca, a potentially decisive time trial in San Jose makes up the fourth stage, and three more stages take riders to Sacramento.

The three-stage women’s race starts May 17 and mirrors the final three stages of the men’s race.

George Bennett was a surprising overall winner this year, while world champion and fan favorite won the sprints classification. Daniel Jaramillo won the kind of the mountains jersey.

Organizers reveal 575-mile Tour of California route

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SACRAMENTO, Calif. — This year’s Tour of California will cover 575 miles from Sacramento to Pasadena, while the women’s race that precedes it in May will be the only UCI WorldTour race in the U.S. this year.

Organizers revealed the route Tuesday, along with announcing that Jens Voigt, Freddie Rodriguez and three-time Olympic time trial champion Kristin Armstrong will serve as ambassadors.

After the opening circuit stage in Sacramento on May 14, the men’s race takes riders from Modesto to San Jose, Pismo Beach to Morro Bay, Santa Barbara to Santa Clarita and up the iconic climb of Mt. Baldy. There is also a time trial at Big Bear Lake before the final stage to Pasadena.

The women’s race, which begins May 11 in South Lake Tahoe, became the only U.S. race on this year’s WorldTour calendar when the Philly Cycling Classic was canceled last month.