February 23, 2009 (Use j/k keys to navigate)   Email to a friend    Permalink

The Amgen Tour of California

In just a few short years, the Amgen Tour of California has become a major stop on the professional cycling calendar. Attracting top European teams and the best riders from around the world, the tour serves as the first big test of the season. This year's tour was won by Levi Leipheimer, his third victory in a row in this eight-stage race. Leipheimer was the leader of the powerful Astana team, which features Lance Armstrong in his American comeback and several other riders from Armstrong's Tour de France glory days with the US Postal and Discovery teams. The Versus channel, which carried the race, reported that 2 million fans lined the course, the most ever for an American cycling event. ( 25 photos total)

Stage winner Frank Schleck, left, and Vincenzo Nibali are chased by fans on the climb of Cole Grade during Stage 8 in the Amgen Tour of California from Rancho Bernardo to Escondido on February 22 near Escondido. (Doug Pensinger/Getty Images)

The peloton crosses the Golden Gate Bridge during a heavy rain February 16 in San Francisco during the start of the second stage. (AP Photo/Michael A. Mariant) #

Lance Armstrong, center, waits at the starting line between Jason McCartney, left, and Robert Gesink before the fifth stage February 19 in Visalia. (AP Photo/Gary Kazanjian) #

Surfers watch as the breakaway riders pass by on Highway 1 near Davenport February 16 during the second stage. (AP Photo/Michael A. Mariant) #

The peloton rides under heavy skies as they pass through wine country in Napa County during Stage 1 on February 15 from Davis to Santa Rosa. (Doug Pensinger/Getty Images) #

The peloton descends from The Petrified Forest toward Santa Rosa during Stage 1 on February 15, 2009 in Sacramento. (Doug Pensinger/Getty Images) #

Shayla Thomas, 3, of San Diego, writes well wishes for riders during the final stage in Rancho Bernardo February 22. (AP Photo/Marcio Jose Sanchez) #

The peloton traveled over wet roads and under heavy skies through Napa County during Stage 1 February 15 from Davis to Santa Rosa. (Doug Pensinger/Getty Images) #

A Who's Who on wheels, from left, Andy Schleck, Janez Brajkovic, Ivan Basso, Christopher Horner, Lance Armstrong , Jens Voigt, and Robert Gesink compete in Stage 1 of the AMGEN Tour of California on February 15 in Santa Rosa. (Christian Petersen/Getty Images) #

Lance Armstrong (bottom right, in black)rides next to Floyd Landis (right, in white) as the peloton crosses the Stevenson Bridge as they leave Davis during Stage 1 February 15. (Doug Pensinger/Getty Images) #

Normam Miller, right, and Irene Heeterby watch the peloton go by during stage 4 near Mariposa February 18. (AP Photo/Marcio Jose Sanchez) #

Gilberto Diaz, right, and Fernando Gutierrez watch the peloton go by during stage 5 in Visalia February 19. (AP Photo/Marcio Jose Sanchez) #

An escape group climbs Tunitas Creek Road during Stage 2 from Sausalito to Santa Cruz on February 16 in San Mateo County. (Doug Pensinger/Getty Images) #

The peloton rides along Highway 1 during Stage 2 from Sausalito to Santa Cruz on February 16 in San Mateo County. (Doug Pensinger/Getty Images) #

The peloton heads up a short climb near Tracy during the third stage February 17. (AP Photo/The Record/Craig Sanders) #

The peloton pass through Mariposa during Stage 4 from Merced to Clovis on February 18 in Mariposa. (Doug Pensinger/Getty Images) #

Riders maintain an aerodynamic position in Stage 4 from Merced to Clovis on February 18 in Ahwahnee. (Christian Petersen/Getty Images) #

Astana cyclists lead those from Rabobank during stage 5 near Hanford February 19. (AP Photo/Marcio Jose Sanchez) #

Floyd Landis races during the stage 6 individual time trial in Solvang February 20. (AP Photo/Marcio Jose Sanchez) #

Fans run with the peloton on the climb of Millcreek Summit during Stage 7 from Santa Clarita to Pasadena on February 21 in Los Angeles County. (Doug Pensinger/Getty Images) #

The peloton passes through a tunnel during Stage 7 from Santa Clarita to Pasadena on February 21 in Los Angeles County. (Doug Pensinger/Getty Images) #

As fans line the road and hillside above, the peloton heads up the first of four hill climbs on Stage 8 of the Tour of California cycling race in Rancho Bernardo February 22. (AP Photo/Michael A. Mariant) #

The peloton goes up the first climb during the final stage in Escondido February 22. (AP Photo/Marcio Jose Sanchez) #

The peloton climbs Highland Valley Road during Stage 8 February 22 in Rancho Bernardo. (Doug Pensinger/Getty Images) #

Levi Leipheimer takes the podium after Stage 8 for the overall victory February 22 in Escondido. (Doug Pensinger/Getty Images) #


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Great pictures...great race. And im glad Lance is back!

Posted by eric February 23, 09 10:38 PM
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Awesome!

Posted by JR February 24, 09 09:40 AM
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I live in San Luis Obispo CA. This is the best set of photos I have seen published. Thanks for including context in the shots, one can feel the race.
NIce job!

Posted by t fay February 24, 09 11:34 AM
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I am a boston native (nahant) living in hawaii for the past 31 years. A lifelong cyclist ,racing for the first time in 1973, and competing in my first triathlon in 1981 on the Island of Oahu, where the sport of triathlon was born, I get my fix of boston sports teams on your website, and was thrilled to find this article! Great job of chosing the photos and text!! I enjoyed them as much as any international race photo's i have viewed in recent years. Thank you (Mahalo) , and I'm sure the friends i've forwarded this to will enjoy them as much as I did!

Posted by Jim Cyr February 25, 09 04:36 AM
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Great pics!

I love the first one, and the one of the kid all painted in yellow (#20).

A classic race that is hopefully here for many years to come!

Posted by Todd February 25, 09 04:44 PM
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Thanks for a wonderful set of cycling photos. They are beautiful.

Posted by timyocum.com February 25, 09 06:30 PM
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#4 is classic California (as are # 11 & 12) - great set of Photos!

Posted by Vicki February 27, 09 07:26 PM
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