Tour of California adds more mountains and coastline to 2012 route
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Wednesday, February 08, 2012

Tour of California adds more mountains and coastline to 2012 route

by Ben Atkins at 12:47 PM EST   comments
Categories: Pro Cycling, Tour of California
 
Beverly Hills and Hollywood finale after Big Bear Lake and Mount Baldy stage finishes

chris hornerAEG Sports, the organiser of the Amgen Tour of California, has announced the route of the 2012 race, which features even more mountains that last year’s edition, and also a return to the spectacular Pacific coast. The seventh edition of the eight-day, 2.HC-ranked race will cover 1184.1km (735.6 miles), including the climb to Mount Diablo, and stage finishes at Big Bear Lake and on Mount Baldy, before a prestigious Beverly Hills and Hollywood finale.

“We take great pride in developing the route for the Amgen Tour of California, not only because it attracts the world’s elite cyclists, but because it puts an international spotlight on California for eight days,” said Kristin Bachochin, executive director of the race and senior vice president of AEG Sports. “We spend countless hours poring over possible route scenarios and taking into account fan and rider suggestions before determining the final course; it is a true labor of love. We want to thank our Host Cities for creating the videos that highlight their stage route details and show what an amazing race this will be.”

The race will begin in Santa Rosa, the hometown of three-time race winner Levi Leipheimer, with a stage that will take in the scenery of Sonoma County, and the spectacular Pacific coastline, before heading back to Santa Rosa for the finish. The second stage will begin in the Marina district of San Francisco and take the coast road south to Santa Cruz County, then cross the climbs of Bonny Doon and Bear Creek Road and descend in to the finish at Aptos.

Stage three will take in more mountains in a 185.5km (115.3 miles) route between San José – the only city to host a stage of every edition of the race to date – and Livermore. After passing through the finish line after just 45km (28 miles) the peloton will be faced with a 140km loop that includes Mount Diablo and Patterson Pass, which will be followed by a 10km downhill dash for the line.

The fourth stage will take a largely southeasterly route between Sonora and Clovis; the saw-toothed profile of the first 140km includes six classified climbs – the biggest, and last, of which is Crane Valley Road – but the long descent, and flat profile of the final 30km should be enough to put paid to any breakaways.

The race’s individual time trial comes on stage five with a mostly flat 29.7km (18.4 miles) out and back course in Bakersfield. Riders will be faced with an immediate descent from the start onto the Alfred Harrel Way, to the Kern River Golf Course, when it will follow the same road back. There will be a sting in the tail for riders who have gone too hard too fast though, with the stiff, 8% gradient of China Grade and the climb back up to the finish.

chris hornerStages six and seven should be where the race will be decided, finishing, as they do, at Big Bear Lake and Mount Baldy respectively. After missing the 2011 race, Big Bear Lake returns in a stage that – while not as tough as its equivalent in 2010 – will be a real challenge on the day after the time trial. After leaving the start at Palmdale, the peloton will first scale the Angeles Crest before descending to the foot of the final climb.

The following day will be short, but very sharp, as it heads out of Ontario, over the climb of Glendora Ridge Road, then descend into Glendora, and tackle Glendora Mount Road on the way to the horrifically steep climb to Mount Baldy.

It was on this stage of last year’s race that teammates Leipheimer and eventual race-winner Chris Horner left the rest of the peloton standing as they clawed their way up the gradient.

The eighth and final stage will be a largely ceremonial one, but will mark a first for the race as it starts in the exclusive city of Beverly Hills. The stage will begin on the exclusive shopping street of Rodeo Drive and Brighton Way, following a route along Santa Monica Boulevard and Doheny Drive as it heads into West Hollywood. Following the route of the LA Marathon, it will reach Hollywood Boulevard and turn right towards Hollywood.

After passing such sights as Madame Tussauds Wax Museum, Kodak Theater, Mann’s Chinese Theater, the Pantages Theater, and the Dodgers Stadium, the peloton will enter a final 8km (5 mile) circuit that goes through Chinatown, past Los Angeles City Hall, the historic Biltmore Hotel, Disney Hall and the LA Music Center, past the STAPLES Center and L.A. LIVE to the finish line.

Stages:
May 13th – stage 1: Santa Rosa to Santa Rosa, 186.5km (115.9 miles)
May 14th – stage 2: San Francisco to Santa Cruz County, 188.5km (117.1 miles)
May 15th – stage 3: San José to Livermore, 185.5km (115.3 miles)
May 16th – stage 4: Sonora to Clovis, 209.6km (130.2 miles)
May 17th – stage 5: Bakersfield ITT, 29.7km (18.4 miles)
May 18th – stage 6: Palmdale to Big Bear Lake, 186.3km (115.7 miles)
May 19th – stage 7: Ontario to Mount Baldy, 126km (78.3 miles)
May 20th – stage 8: Beverly Hills to Los Angeles, 72km (44.7 miles)

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