We take a look at some of the US's biggest races in 2017 and why you should watch them

The American race calendar truly hits it’s stride next month when the 12th edition of the Amgen Tour of California takes place, upgraded this season to UCI WorldTour status for the first time ever.

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Although the Tour of California is the most prestigious race on the schedule, a handful of other stage races highlight the American Tour calendar throughout the summer as well.

Tour of the Gila

The UCI 2.2 Tour of the Gila, entering it’s 31st year, is a five-stage race that runs April 19-23 in and around Silver City, New Mexico.

Featuring a road stage with 9,000 feet of climbing, stunning mountain vistas, technical descents, an often windy time trial and finishing with a speedy downtown criterium, this race has been a destination for Olympians, world champions, and up and coming stars for over three decades.

Amgen Tour of California

The Tour of California features a host of WorldTour teams and has now earned WorldTour status for 2017 (Watson)

Amgen’s Tour of California brings the best riders from around the world to compete in seven challenging stages moving from the northern part of the state and eventually finishing in Pasadena just outside of Los Angeles.

The queen stage will feature 12,000 feet of climbing as well as a finish on top of Mt. Baldy, which saw Frenchman Julian Alaphilippe take the win here in 2015.

His current teammate Marcel Kittel is expected to challenge six-time green jersey winner, Peter Sagan in the sprints. The race runs May 14-20, with a women’s four-stage race starting on the May 11 in Lake Tahoe.

Cascade Cycling Classic

The Cascade Cycling Classic enters it’s 38th year and holds the title as the longest running stage race in America.

This UCI 2.2 race mostly features elite riders and continental pros. The race itself is set against the backdrop of beautiful Mt. Bachelor in Bend, Oregon, featuring five-stages, with three challenging and climbing heavy road races from July 19-23.

Larry H. Miller Tour of Utah

Peloton riding neutral in Zion National Park, start of Stage 1.

The UCI 2.HC Larry H. Miller Tour of Utah is nicknamed “America’s Toughest Race” for good reason – it features nearly 50,000 feet of climbing over seven stages from July 31-August 6 in the 13th edition this year.

This race is often times a great opportunity for some of the American continental squads to contend against the larger European WorldTour teams looking to find fitness ahead of the Vuelta a España a few weeks later in the summer.

New this year, and following a stage two finish at nearly 7,000 feet, is a time trial up Big Cottonwood Canyon that should play an integral part in the final overall classification.

Colorado Classic

28 August 2011
1st USA Pro Cycling Challenge – Tour of Colorado
Photo : Yuzuru SUNADA

Looking to fill a void left by the cancelling of the USA Pro Cycling Challenge last year, the new Colorado Classic will be a four-day, ‘hub and spoke’ designed stage raced based out of Denver, Colorado.

There will be three circuit races and one out and back course with each stage finishing in the city of Denver. Exact course details have yet to be released for this race, running August 10-13 (with a women’s two-day race scheduled as well), but expect to see these courses feature plenty of climbing, taking advantage of Colorado’s mountainous terrain.