Lake Tahoe will be the setting for the start of California cycling's biggest hoorah.

The Amgen Tour of California women's race will kick off in South Lake Tahoe on May 8. This year marks the 10th anniversary of the growing cycling event.

"It's America's largest cycling event at America's best lake," said Carol Chaplin, executive director of the Lake Tahoe Visitor's Authority. ""Hosting the women's race and time trial for the Amgen Tour of California's 10th anniversary provides an opportunity to challenge these athletes with our natural environment and help to elevate awareness of women's racing as a prestigious sport."

Racers will circle the lake as the first stage of the four-day women's event. This will mark the first time the race has entered Nevada. On May 9, the women competitors will pedal a 25-mile circuit, including some of the South Shore's toughest hills, twice before finishing at Heavenly Mountain Resort. The second stage will test the rider's endurance with more than 3,300 vertical feet of climbing.

The women's event will draw 14 of the best women's teams in the world, including the Canadian National Team, Pearl Izumi Sports International, and the Grassi Pr Cycling Team Mexico. Due to its prominence, The women's Tour of California stage races and time trials received a Union Cycliste International (UCI) sanction.

"Cycling attracts extraordinary athletes, and we're thrilled to provide the women with a bigger platform this year as we continue to expand our commitment to women's professional cycling," said Kristin Bachochin Klein, executive director of the Amgen Tour of California and senior vice president of AEG Sports, in a press release. "We look forward to our fans experiencing the best teams in the world racing in California in May."

After Lake Tahoe, the women's race moves to Sacramento for its third and final stage. The women will then have the opportunity to compete in time trial races in Big Bear Lake, California.

The Amgen Tour of California first visited Lake Tahoe in 2011 when a freak snowstorm caused a cancellation of the first two stages. So far, the weather forecast for this year's event looks promising. Forecasters are calling for a slight chance of thunderstorms Friday and sunny conditions Saturday.

The Amgen Tour of California women's race is sponsored by SRAM, make of high quality bicycle components.

"We are once again excited to further the growth of women's cycling and particularly the all new women's Amgen Tour of California stage race," said SRAM Vice President of Marketing David Zimberoff. "As a global bicycle component manufacturer, a portion of our message is empowerment, and giving women more opportunity to showcase their talent is the perfect expression of that."

Concurrent to the women, the men's race will traverse more than 700 miles of California in 8 stages.

For race details, VIP packages and more, visit the Amgen Tour of California website.

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