Tour of California announces 2007 host cities

Updated: July 20, 2006, 5:55 PM ET
Associated Press

LOS ANGELES -- The course for next year's Amgen Tour of California cycling road race will wind through several new "host cities" and conclude in Long Beach for the first time.

The inaugural eight-day event was won last February by Floyd Landis of Murrieta, Calif., who currently is contending for the Tour de France title.

Backers announced Thursday that the 2007 race will include new host cities Sacramento, Stockton, Seaside, Solvang and Santa Clarita.

Other host cities include Sausalito, Santa Rosa, San Jose, San Luis Obispo and Santa Barbara.

The race is expected to draw a field of more than 150 of the world's top cyclists.

USA Cycling CEO Steve Johnson said the inaugural Tour of California helped put bicycle racing back on the map in the United States.

"With a solid foundation on which to build, the Amgen Tour of California is on pace to become one of the top cycling events in the world, which is paramount in growing the sport in the United States," Johnson said in a statement.

The 2007 race is scheduled to begin with a Feb. 18 prologue in San Francisco, then the first stage will be from Sausalito to Santa Rosa the following day. The event will end with a circuit race in Long Beach on Feb. 25.

Landis won this year's race, which finished in Redondo Beach, by 29 seconds. David Zabriskie of Salt Lake City finished second overall.

Copyright 2006 by The Associated Press