In less than a month the streets of Sacramento will be alive with World Class Cycling when the Amgen Tour of California returns to downtown Sacramento.  Sunday May 16 to be exact.  This promises to be one of the best Sacramento weekend events you don't want to miss. You can also enter to win a free 2-night hotel stay on race weekend!

This year instead of a Time Trial with each individual rider competing against the clock, we will once again be able to cheer and enjoy the final three laps around the Capitol followed by the exciting sprint down L Street to close out the finish of the 104 mile Stage One. 
Don't get me wrong, last year was great, watching 3-time Tour of California winner Levi Leipheimer and 7-time Tour de France winner Lance Armstrong race against the course, the clock and the threat of rain.  But for me there is just something even cooler when 100+ World Class Pro International Cyclists go 104 miles from Nevada City, through Auburn, Cool, El Dorado Hills and then into downtown Sacramento and come blazing around our State Capitol circuit with that unforgettable sound of gears and chains.  

Think about it,  you've got Levi and Lance rolling out the new Radio Shack team, plus the usual cast of characters...Team HTC-Columbia with their unbelievable sprinter Mark Cavendish, Team Saxo Bank, the Rabobank team, Quick Step and many others.   Ultimately, one will be the fastest sprinting down L Street to become the winner of Stage One.
And for the price of admission (it's a free event), a Stage One finish would be more than enough.
This year, however, the Sacramento Sports Commission has outdone itself,  by providing a full day of great cycling, with the introduction of the Sacramento Grand Prix.  Featuring separate men’s and women’s races of category Pro/1/2 cyclists.  The women's race will include cyclists  from the US Women’s National Team and 2012 US Women’s Olympic Development Team.   These one-hour races will begin with the men's race around 11 am followed by the women's race at noon (schedules are still being finalized, check with
You won't want to miss these new Grand Prix races.   They travel a 1.4 mile course circling the Capitol Building, duplicating portions of the Tour’s circuit just hours before Stage 1 is slated to finish in downtown Sacramento.   They compete against each other and the one-hour time frame.   Ultimately, they also have that fantastic sprint down L Street to the finish. 
This is a perfect weekend in Sacramento. Many Sacramento area hotels are offering special Tour of California hotel packages and if you request a Sacramento Gold Card when you check in, you get even more savings.

Two Pro Grand Prix races, followed by our own Mayor Kevin Johnson peddling the streets around the Capitol in the Mayor's Community Ride, and last but not least, the Amgen Tour of California Stage One finish.   It should be a very special day in May as Lance and Levi ride  again,  and Sacramento once again sets the stage for the first of eight days of the best cycling in America.