Competitors make their way along Figueroa Street near Staples Center last… (Genaro Molina / Los Angeles…)
The Amgen Tour of California, an eight-stage professional cycling race that covers more than 730 miles, will feature three stages that begin and end in the Southland, including one from Santa Clarita to the Mountain High ski resort in Wrightwood, race organizers announced Thursday.
The ninth annual event begins May 11 in Sacramento and ends May 18 in Thousand Oaks.
Riders from 16 domestic and international men's teams will compete in a race that will include 40,000 feet of climbs.
Mike Friedman, 31, a member of the Optum Pro Cycling team, is participating for the fifth time.
"It's hard every year," Friedman said after the course was revealed during a news conference at a Calabasas restaurant. "There's always a point in the race where you're breathing out your eyeballs and you're holding on for dear life -- but that's racing. That's part of the fun. That's what makes cycling spectacular."
In 2013, the race began in Escondido and ended in Santa Rosa. Tejay van Garderen of BMC Racing team won in 29 hours, 43 minutes.
This year, the race starts in Sacramento, one of five stages that also include starts and stops in Folsom, Mt. Diablo State Park, San Jose, Monterey, Cambria, Pismo Beach and Santa Barbara.
The final three stages: a 97-mile ride from Santa Clarita to Mountain High on May 16; a 91-mile ride from Santa Clarita to Pasadena City Hall on May 17; and an 84-mile ride on May 18 that starts and finishes in Thousand Oaks and includes four ascents on Mulholland Drive as part of the "Rock Store" climb.
The event includes two days of pro women's racing in Northern California, and L'Etape du California, an opportunity for amateurs to ride Stage 8 of the course in Thousand Oaks on April 6. Information and cost: http://letapeducalifornia.com.