Tour of California announces Palmdale start for Big Bear stage
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Wednesday, April 14, 2010

Tour of California announces Palmdale start for Big Bear stage

by VeloNation Press at 4:36 PM EST   comments
Categories: Pro Cycling, Tour of California

Levi LeipheimerOrganizers for the Tour of California, AEG, have announced Palmdale, in the Antelope Valley of Los Angeles, as the replacement for Pasadena as the host city start for stage six of the event.  The May 21 stage start had to be moved from Pasadena due to road closures on the Angeles Crest Highway caused by recent fires and subsequent mudslide damage to the route.

“After assessing the options for re-routing Stage 6 of the Amgen Tour of California, we determined that Palmdale would be the perfect start city for the race, allowing us to feature much of the same challenging terrain in the San Gabriel and San Bernardino mountains,” said Andrew Messick, president of AEG Sports.  “As long-term partners of Pasadena, we appreciate how graciously they have handled this difficult situation.  We look forward to returning to Pasadena soon and to working with new partner Palmdale this year.”

2010 will mark the fifth edition of the race that has become the most important bike race in the United States.  The confirmed list of starters includes team RadioShack's three-time defending champion Levi Leipheimer and seven-time Tour de France Champion Lance Armstrong, as well as BMC Racing's US National Champion George Hincapie and his former HTC-Columbia teammate Mark Cavendish.

Palmdale City Hall will now serve as the backdrop for what is expected to be the most difficult stage in the history of the Amgen Tour of California.  After a five-mile neutral rollout heading south on Sierra Rd., the route turns left onto Angeles Forest Highway.  The riders will then face the San Gabriel mountain range which will soon offer up the first of seven King of the Mountain climbs for the day.

After a rapid descent from the Mill Creek Summit, the route turns to Upper Big Tujunga and then onto Angeles Crest Highway.  From there, the riders continue on a 135-mile journey that features more than 12,000 feet of climbing, and the highest point of the race at close to 8,000 feet.

The route will then begin to climb again as it passes through Crestline and Lake Arrowhead along the “Rim of the World” highway.  The peloton will then enter the Big Bear area, where the riders will take the northern route around Big Bear Lake to reach the final climb of the day up to the Snow Summit ski area.  At more than 7,000-feet of elevation, the finish of stage six marks the first-ever alpine stage finish for the Amgen Tour of California.

With its move on the race calendar from February to May, the Tour of California is now able to take advantage of many of the mountains that the earlier start made impassable due to snow.  The change has also put the race further into the season where more difficult stages are possible because of the advanced fitness level of the riders.

The 2010 Amgen Tour of California will take the peloton from Nevada City to Thousand Oaks over eight stages and more than 800-miles. Host cities for the stages include: Nevada City (new city for 2010), Sacramento, Davis, Santa Rosa, San Francisco, Santa Cruz, San Jose, Modesto, Visalia, Bakersfield (new city for 2010), Palmdale (new city for 2010), Big Bear Lake (new city for 2010), Los Angeles (new city for 2010) and Thousand Oaks/Westlake Village (new city for 2010)/Agoura Hills (new city for 2010).


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