Each spring, Sonoma County hosts dozens of major biking events that bring cyclists from across the nation—and the world. One of the most popular of these annual events is the Amgen Tour of California, a professional cycling stage race for the UCI America Tour and the USA Cycling Professional Tour. The teams chosen to participate have included Olympic medalists, Tour de France contenders and World Champions.
First held in 2006, Amgen is widely considered one of the nation’s most important cycling races. The 8-day race covers 650-700 miles in California, and 2016 marked the eighth time that Sonoma County hosted a stage of the race.
Update for 2017: the Amgen Tour of California will not go through Santa Rosa in 2017. See details at www.amgentourofcalifornia.com.
The 2016 race, which ran from May 15-22, began in San Diego and ended in Sacramento. On the seventh day of the race (May 21, 2016)—known as the seventh stage—the race began and ended in Santa Rosa, considered one of the world’s premier cycling destinations.
The 109-mile, seventh-stage Men’s Route ran along Cazadero Highway, Pacific Coast Highway, Coleman Valley Road and included four King of the Mountain points on King Ridge Road. Along the way cyclists encountered redwood forests and the Pacific Ocean coastline.
The 64-mile Women’s Route featured many of the same roads as the men’s route, with a single Queen of the Mountain climb on Coleman Valley Road. Stage 3 - Santa Rosa - for the women's race also happened on May 21, 2016.
Amgen is always a fun event, with thousands of cheering spectators lining the route and a high-spirited atmosphere of celebration. At the finish line, the Lifestyle Festival shows the race on outdoor video screens, and offers plenty of live music, food, beverages, entertainment, race merchandise, games, cycle demos, health products and a lot more. There’s plenty of fun for kids, too.
To enjoy cycling Sonoma County at your own speed, check out our:
- Guide to Cycling in Sonoma County
- Popular Bike Itineraries: Cycling Through Wine Country
- Sonoma on a Bike: Upscale Bicycle Tours
- Sonoma County Attracts Amateur, Professional Cyclists
Written by Sonoma Insider Suzie Rodriguez.