Spectator’s Guide To The Amgen Tour Of California

Amgen Tour Of California Peloton The Peloton

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For 2019, Stage 2 of the Amgen Tour of California is returning yet again to race through Tahoe on Monday, May 13th. In 2016, we got the opportunity to see them in person. While I wasn’t familiar with cycling at the time, I couldn’t miss this opportunity to see it in my own backyard! In fact, it got me hooked on the sport. For this year, the men’s course for the day will begin in Rancho Cordova and end in South Lake Tahoe at the base of Heavenly Ski Resort. It’s going to be the longest AND biggest vertical climb in the tour’s history! For those curious about the basic rules of cycling sport and how it works, check out our article below.

Peloton – What’s That?

The Peloton at the Amgen Tour of California in South Lake Tahoe - rules of cycling sport
The Peloton

An odd word you’ll hear when watching a cycling event is the term “Peloton.” There is usually a main group of cyclists and the “chase” group. This main group where most riders are, is what the term refers to. Of course, there can be more than one chase group. But no matter what, there is always a main group of riders and that’s called the “Peloton.” In Stage 5 of the Tour of California, there were over a 120 cyclists mere inches apart in the “Peloton!”

Like A Pack Of Wild Horses The Peloton Rushes In

the basic rules of cycling sport the Amgen Tour of California coming through South Lake Tahoe

Words can’t explain the excitement of seeing a race come through your town. Before the first racer arrives, a car blazes the course with a loud speaker, hyping the crowd and reporting the first riders will be coming into view in a few minutes. This car is then followed by a wave of police ensuring the course is clear and secure. The first small group rushes past, followed by another, and then the Peloton can be seen peaking over the horizon down the road. Like a pack of wild horses, they can be seen jockeying for position as they take over the entire street. The sensation of being so close to the cyclists as they push for the finish is invigorating. The crowd roars, cheering on their favorite teams and riders as the contestants peddle by.

Water Bottles?

Another oddity for this first time spectator was the water bottles. I know you’re questioning me, but let me explain. As the competitors wiz by, a steady stream of water bottles are tossed towards the crowd and on the sides of the roadway. After they pass, there are plastic water bottles strewn everywhere! Being a collector, this is truly cool! To actually own some memorabilia from the event is thrilling. We were lucky enough to get one from the Jelly Belly Team, Giant Team and the Specialized Team.

More Than One Way To Win?

In almost any sport that you can think of, there is only one champion. Well, in professional cycling the rules of cycling sport it’s a bit different. There are multiple ways to win. This means there are multiple championships being battled for in the same race! Each day a winner is crowned for these sub races and awarded a jersey for their stage appearance. The categories and explanations are listed below.

Leader Jersey

leader jersey for AMGEN Tour of California

This signifies the person who has the fastest time across the entire length of the race.

Sprint Jersey

Rules of Cycling Sport - sprint jersey for AMGEN Tour of CaliforniaThis is for the cyclist who scores the most points across the entire length of the race. These points are based on certain parts that are signified as “sprint” stages.

King / Queen of the Mountain Jersey

King Of The Mountain jersey for AMGEN Tour of CaliforniaSimilar to the sprint jersey except for the rider who is the strongest climber of the day wins.

Most Courageous Jersey

2016-bfcmcjerseyThis is the coolest jersey in our opinion. The winner of this jersey lays it all on the line. It’s awarded to the individual that exemplifies courage, sacrifice, inspiration, determination, and perseverance. This means he/she is the one that goes for it!

Best Young Rider Jersey

2016-byrjerseyThis is as is sounds. The rider with the fastest course completion of the day under 26 years of age is crowned the winner.

Warm up for Tour De France

The Amgen Tour of California is a warm up for the Tour De France. It was a great opportunity to view such high level talent my first time out. You have to be there to catch the vibe and really get the feel for an event of this magnitude. In case you missed it or want a recap, check out the video below.

We hope this article helped provide a bit more explanation to the basic rules of cycling sport and gets you excited for “the Tour.” If you want to learn more about unique races in North America, get tips on gear, or explore adventures you can have from the shores of Tahoe to the mighty Grand Tetons of Wyoming be sure to check out our comprehensive guide on everything two wheels: The Down & Dirty On Mountain Biking.

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