The 2014 Amgen Tour of California started Friday evening with a opening gala held in Sacramento's Memorial Auditorium. A menagerie of local officials, businesses and VIPs took part in the opening festivities. The gala opened up with a dinner featuring locally grown, sourced and culturally diverse cuisine. A silent auction was held feature a variety of items with the proceeds being donated to charity.
The festivities ended with the introductions of the racing teams that will participate in this Sunday's opening stage held in the capital city along with the closing of the auction. A local youth drum corps along with a light show accompanied the cycling teams as the teams were announced. I witnessed the drumming troupe rehearse the introductions during the pre-show rehearsal and they were great. Phil Liggett and Paul Sherwen were the M.C.s of the event and kept the gala moving along as the evening waned.
Sunday is the first stage of the Tour of California and it will start and finish at the Capitol on L Street. The route will go up north and follow the east bank of the Sacramento River, pass through Pleasant Grove, Lincoln, Auburn along HWY 49 through to the city of Cool. The riders will head back to Sacramento and the winner of the event will be awarded the yellow jersey and will defend it at stage two which will be held on Monday in Folsom. The total length of the stage will be 120 miles and will be held at an elevation that can reach well over 3,000 feet.
To learn more about the Tour of California and on where to spot the cyclists please visit http://www.amgentourofcalifornia.com/stages/stage-1