LOS ANGELES—For the first time in its history, the Amgen Tour of California will begin in the south and take cyclists on a northward route in 2013.

The roughly 750-mile stage race will begin in Escondido in San Diego County on May 12 and take riders through Santa Barbara, San Jose and San Francisco before ending in Santa Rosa on May 19. Escondido hosted the race finish in 2009.

Tour of California executive director Kristin Bachochin says a northward route has long been considered and race officials are thrilled it could be done for the eighth annual edition of the road race.

Robert Gesink won the race this year, when it began in Santa Rosa and ended in Los Angeles.