Amateur cyclists can ride tough Tour of California stage

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Borrowing a theme from its French cousin, le Tour de France, the 2012 Amgen Tour of California is taking the toughest stage of next year's bike race and turning it into a ride for every day cyclists.

Called L'Etape du California, the bike ride for amateur cyclists will be Stage 7's assault on Mt. Baldy from Ontario in southern part of the state.

The amateur ride is scheduled on Saturday, April 28. The contested Stage 7 for the pros in the Tour of California is the penultimate stage and rolls out May 19.

Registration is due to open in December; check the L'Etape du California website for registration details. The ride is limited to 2,500 cyclists.


Sports management company Pacific Sports is handling arrangements for the amateur ride. This is the second year it has been offered.

Organizers remind participants that the ride is not a race, and cyclists are expected to obey all rules of the road and traffic signs.

At the same time, cyclists will be offered timing chips so they can compete or record their time in the King of the Mountain or Queen of the Mountain section of the course.

Details TBA

Details of all 8 stages of the Tour will be disclosed in 2012, so Pacific Sports doesn't yet know the start or finish lines, total mileage or elevation.

Like last year, the course is expected to open at 7 a.m. and close at 6 p.m.

The 2012 Amgen Tour of California rolls out May 13 in Santa Rosa and ends May 20 in Los Angeles. Organizers announced all 13 host cities last week.

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