Posted by Editoress on 05/14/11
The weather is still the main topic of interest, as the teams and organizers make their final preparations for the first stage of the Amgen Tour of California tomorrow. The weather today while the riders were taking their final training rides was a mix of sun and cloud, but all weather services are calling for snow tomorrow - up to four inches at the altitudes the race will go over.
The organization is still not talking about contingency plans, and the latest word is that nothing will be announced before 9:00 pm tonight. The speculation is that if roads are wet but snow free (and temperatures are above freezing, which is highly unlikely), that the race will go ahead. An accummulation of snow or icy conditions will result in a cancellation of the planned stage.
Alternatives to a complete cancellation of the stage include a partial stage around the east side of Lake Tahoe (where accummulations are expected to be less), or a Prologue time trial in South Lake Tahoe. Organizers could also neutralize the stage, with a ceremonial start in South Lake Tahoe, and then transport the peloton to Northstar for a finish group ride.
Reactions to any of the above outcomes were mixed from the teams we spoke with - most hope that the full stage can be successfully run, and would have to scramble to prepare for a last minute time trial.
If the stage does go ahead, the riders believe it will be a tough one, and that only a smaller group will contest the finish.
The problems don't end with tomorrow's stage - Monday starts at Squaw Valley in North Tahoe, and goes over the even higher Donner Pass before beginning the descent to Sacramento. Snow is predicted for that day as well...
We have interviews with three of the Canadians in the race:
Svein Tuft - SpiderTech p/b C10
Keven Lacombe - SpiderTech p/b C10
Andrew Pinfold - UnitedHealthcare