It may not be a Grand Tour, but the 2016 edition of the Amgen Tour of California is going to have a grand finish, thanks to Mazda Raceway Laguna Seca.
The longest stage of the 8-stage tour from San Diego to Sacramento (from May 15 to 22), wraps up on the grounds of the famed racetrack, with a 3.7-km ride to the finish line, which fittingly also happens to be racetrack’s start/finish line.
Stage 4 of the tour is a 215-km ride from Morro Bay (near San Luis Obispo), north along various primary and secondary roads, though the Carmel Valley, and on to Monterey. The riders will enter the Laguna Seca Recreation Area and then join the race track at turn 5, proceed about 0.85 km up the hill (with an elevation change of about 50 metres, or 160 feet) to the famed Corkscrew and then follow down the hill (about 170 metres with the equivalent of a 16-storey drop) at high speeds toward the tight left-hander that takes them onto the start/finish straight and the finish line.
Spectators are expected to line the race track from turn 5 all the way to the finish, with the highest concentrations expected along the Corkscrew (where they can get good sightlines through several corners) and on the finish straight for the 260-metre finish sprint.
The 2016 Amgen Tour of California, May 15-22, is a Tour de France-style road race that challenges the world’s top cyclists along a demanding 8-day course through nearly 1,300 km along south and central California, passing through 12 host cities: San Diego, South Pasadena, Santa Clarita, Thousand Oaks, Santa Barbara, Morro Bay, Monterey, Lodi, South Lake Tahoe, Folsom, Santa Rosa and Sacramento.
And, when the professionals have finished and the jerseys have presented, spectators are invited to cycle the world renowned 3.6-km, 11-turn paved track themselves for a sunset ride.