Your 2010 Tour de California, with a surprise ending … wait for it … and new dates

This in from those who run the Tour of California cycling event — a new route that ends in Thousand Oaks and it moves from February to May to bypass the rain and snow season and allow for the mountains to be used more on the course.

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The 16 host cities for the May 16-23 race were announced today via a Twitter exchange between Lance Armstrong, three-time Tour of California champion Levi Leipheimer, Dave Zabriskie and George Hincapie and Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger. Which is why we didn’t hear about it until the Associated Press put it up on their site.

The race, in its fifth year, starts with a road stage for the first time from Nevada City, Calif., to Sacramento.

It will pass through Davis, Santa Rosa, San Francisco, Santa Cruz, San Jose, Modesto, Visalia, Bakersfield, Pasadena, Big Bear Lake, downtown L.A. and end in Thousand Oaks, home of title sponsor Amgen.

Stage 7 will be the individual time trial downtown next to Staples Center.

“For the 2010 Amgen Tour of California we had the unique opportunity to move our race to a part of the year when we are almost guaranteed great weather in California,” said Andrew Messick, president of AEG Sports. “This timing will help us to better showcase the beautiful features the state of California has to offer, while allowing us to travel to parts of the state that just weren’t feasible in previous years.”

Armstrong starts the 2010 season with his newly formed Team RadioShack, which includes Leipheimer.

More info: www.amgentourofcalifornia.com

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