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2012 Tour of California, Stage 1: The Tour Kicks Off In Santa Rosa

The 2012 Tour of California is finally here. On Sunday, the prestigious cycling race will get underway with Stage 1 in Santa Rosa.

Whereas most big tours -- like the current Giro d'Italia -- like to begin with a time trial to begin the race and give centralized fans a chance to cheer, the Tour of California's Stage 1 will feature sprints and hill climbs as part of a circuitous trip around the scenic Northern California town. You can see the course route below.

Stage1_medium

It should be a lot of fun to watch, as it usually is.

Sunday's Stage 1 kicks off at 2:00 p.m. PT and will be televised on NBC Sports Network (formerly Vs.). You can also watch the live streaming coverage and find lots more information on the race on the official Amgen Tour of California website.

For more news and analysis on the Tour of California, head over to SB Nation's cycling blog, Podium Cafe.

Check out the SB Nation Channel on YouTube