Posted by Editor on 01/18/06
Amgen Tour of California
Yesterday the Tour of California announced route details and teams for the inaugural edition of the eight stage race, which will take place February 19-26. The text of the press release can be read below (along with route summaries and a list of the teams), however, in summary, the race begins in San Francisco, makes a short loop north to Santa Rosa before heading south along the Pacific coast to finish with a circuit race in greater Los Angeles (Redondo Beach).
The organizers have managed to attract eight ProTour teams, with the rest of the field filled by U.S. squads and the Mexican National Team (which will play well with the large Hispanic population in California). Unfortunately, this means that there will be very few Canadians in the race. Ryder Hesjedal has already confirmed to us that he is not scheduled to ride the race for Phonak. Charles Dionne (Saunier Duval-Prodir) and Michael Barry (Discovery) are possible starters (but Barry usually spends the early season in Europe). Gord Fraser will likely ride for Health Net-Maxxis, and Mark Walters for Navigators. National champion Francois Parisien will ride for TIAA-CREF, Dominique Perras with Kodakgallery.com-Sierra Nevada, and possibly his new team mate Martin Gilbert.
Thus we have the potential for a maximum of seven Canadian riders (and as few as three) in the Tour of California - no national squad and no Symmetrics. Neither the CCA nor Symmetrics can be blamed; it is just the politics of the situation. The organizers are shooting for maximum TV coverage, and this means Tour de France teams, top pros and homegrown squads (as previously mentioned, the Mexican squad will also attract lots of spectators). However, it does underscore the fact that Canada is in danger of becoming irrelevant in men's road racing at the international level.
Route Details (maps can be found at www.amgentourofcalifornia.com)
AEG, one of the world's leading sports and entertainment presenters, today announced route details of the inaugural Amgen Tour of California (UCI 2.1) which will make its way from San Francisco to Redondo Beach, CA along a demanding 600-mile course. Also announced today, 16 international and domestic teams will traverse the state from north to south in this eight-day professional cycling stage race modeled after the Tour de France. The Amgen Tour of California is scheduled to take place from February 19-26, 2006.
Sanctioned by the UCI (Union Cycliste International) and USA Cycling, the Amgen Tour of California is one of the most anticipated events on the international cycling calendar. Between the opening Prologue in San Francisco and the finale in Redondo Beach, the race will visit ten host cities for official stage starts and finishes while the many communities along the route will have the opportunity to witness the excitement of elite bicycle racing. Host cities for the eight daily stages include: San Francisco, Sausalito, Santa Rosa, Martinez, San Jose, Monterey, San Louis Obispo, Santa Barbara, Thousand Oaks and Redondo Beach.
"We designed the inaugural course with both racers and spectators in mind," said Bob Colarossi, managing director of AEG Cycling, LLC. "It offers the world's best cyclists some of the most challenging terrain that California has to offer. We've designed a beautiful course and we look forward to bringing a beautiful sporting event to the doorsteps of California communities."
"Amgen is pleased to sponsor this world class cycling event which will showcase the state of California and its beautiful scenery," said Jim Daly, senior vice president, Amgen North America Commercial Operations.
Prologue: Sunday, Feb. 19
At 11 a.m., riders will open the competition with a short, intense Prologue through the streets of San Francisco. Starting by the Ferry Building at Pier 1, the 1.9-mile course will run along the Embarcardero until making the sharp left onto Bay Street that will bring the riders up the tight and steep climb through Telegraph Hill to the finish at Coit Tower.
Stage One: Monday, Feb. 20
With the start on the Marin side of the San Francisco Bay, Stage One will cover roughly 84 miles from Sausalito to Santa Rosa. On its way up Highway 1, the course will run through the Marin Headlands, flanked on both sides by national parkland, before leaving the Point Reyes National Seashore for the race's first sprint competition line in Point Reyes. After crossing into Sonoma, spectators can watch the race for the stage win unfold as the field completes three laps of a technical finishing circuit in downtown Santa Rosa.
Stage Two: Tuesday, Feb. 21
The race will next turn south toward two decisive days in San Jose. After neutral parade laps in the start city of Martinez, the stage is a hilly ride through the East Bay that will bring the race over its first significant climb. Coming 22 miles before the finish line in downtown San Jose, the Sierra Road climb east of the city center will be the first Category One (highest ranked in order of difficulty) ascent in the King of the Mountains competition.
Stage Three: Wednesday, Feb. 22
A 17-mile Individual Time Trial on the outskirts of San Jose will test the cyclists on an undulating course along the Chesbro and Calero Reservoirs.
Stage Four: Thursday, Feb. 23
The "Queen Stage" of this year's race begins in Monterey and follows scenic Highway 1 where the mountains run into the Pacific Ocean. At 130 miles, this is the longest stage of the 2006 race and will test the riders on consistently hilly and technical terrain. The six-hour day will see the athletes go through the community of Big Sur and by Hearst Castle before shifting inland toward the finish in San Luis Obispo.
Stage Five: Friday, Feb. 24
Starting in Mission Plaza in San Luis Obispo, Stage Five to Santa Barbara will follow the central coast until the sprint city of Guadalupe, where the field will leave the flatlands and head east to the Santa Ynez Mountains via the Solvang area. The riders will then face the four-mile Category One climb to San Marcos Pass before descending to a beachfront finish in Santa Barbara.
Stage Six: Saturday, Feb. 25
This shorter stage with a hilly profile from Santa Barbara to Thousand Oaks features four KOM climbs in the 80 miles that precede three laps of a three-mile circuit in Thousand Oaks that will cover the stage's final ten miles before finishing at title sponsor Amgen's corporate campus.
"Amgen staff are excited about welcoming the race to our corporate headquarters in Thousand Oaks and highlighting our Breakaway from Cancer initiative, a partnership with The Wellness Community to support cancer patients and their caregivers," said Daly.
Stage Seven: Saturday, Feb. 26
The race will culminate with a circuit race in Redondo Beach. The stage will be active as the riders compete on ten laps of a 7.65 mile circuit along the Redondo Beach Esplanade and through an intermediate sprint line in Riviera Village before returning to the start/finish line on Harbor Street. Thousands of spectators will be able to watch the race develop as the cyclists vie for the honor of winning the final stage of the first Amgen Tour of California.
Sunday, Feb. 19 - Prologue: San Francisco, 3.1km
Monday, Feb. 20 - Stage 1: Sausalito-Santa Rosa, 129.1km
Tuesday, Feb. 21 - Stage 2: Martinez-San Jose, 152.7km
Wednesday, Feb. 22 - Stage 3: ITT, San Jose, 27.4km
Thursday, Feb. 23 - Stage 4: Monterey-San Luis Obispo, 210.7km
Friday, Feb. 24 - Stage 5: San Luis Obispo-Santa Barbara, 169.5km
Saturday, Feb. 25 - Stage 6: Santa Barbara-Thousand Oaks, 144km
Sunday, Feb. 26 - Stage 7: Redondo Beach, 123.1km
Team CSC (Den)
Discovery Channel (USA)
Prodir-Saunier Duval (Esp)
CrÃƒÂ©dit Agricole (Fra)
Health Net-Maxxis (USA)
Colavita-Sutter Home (USA)
United Pro Cycling Team (USA)
Kodakgallery.com-Sierra Nevada (USA)
Jelly Belly (USA)
KB Home Mexican National Team (Mex)
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