Sunday, May 1, 2011

2 Weeks Until the Amgen Tour of California in Tahoe


The official Overall Start to the Amgen Tour of Calfiornia is two weeks away starting on Sunday, May 15 the race begins at South Lake Tahoe at 6,300 feet, the highest start elevation in the six-year history of the competition. Stage 1 wraps up in North Lake Tahoe at Northstar-at-Tahoe Resort, with the Stage 2 Start taking place nearby at Squaw Valley USA on Monday, May 16.

Stage 1: Cyclists will begin at MontBleu Resort Casino & Spa on the California/Nevada border in South Lake Tahoe. The peloton will loop past Edgewood Tahoe Golf Course around Heavenly Village, past the starting line again and onto Lake Tahoe Boulevard (Highway 50) through the casino corridor then clockwise around the 72-mile perimeter of Lake Tahoe. After going a lap and a half around the lake, the riders head up Brockway Summit (Highway 267) at North Lake Tahoe to 7,000 feet and one last chance for the climbers to dictate the race outcome with the third and final King of the Mountain finish. After cresting the summit, the lead group plunges down a rapid descent into a hard left turn onto Northstar Drive, where both sprinters and climbers will set-up for a high-speed blast to the finish line at Northstar-at-Tahoe Resort.

The spectator-packed finish line is also home to the Amgen Tour of California Lifestyle Festival, which features a health and fitness expo, cancer awareness education, cycling gear, family activities, bike safety, food and entertainment.

Stage 2: The action starts directly under the historic Olympic rings at the center of the Village at Squaw Valley with riders peddling the cobbled corridors before turning onto Squaw Valley Road and then descending to the Olympic Flame entrance and a left-hand turn onto Highway 89. The peloton will follow the picturesque Truckee River corridor as they make their way on Highway 89 toward Truckee and through the two roundabouts near the Interstate 80 overpass. Riders will then turn left onto historic Donner Pass Road before riding the ramp over Interstate 80 and past Donner Memorial State Park, home to the infamous Donner Party.

The pack will continue along the northern shoreline of Donner Lake as they make their approach to the steeps of Old Highway 40 on their way to Donner Summit and the day's first King of the Mountain finish. From there, athletes speed pass Sugar Bowl Ski Resort, Donner Ranch Ski Resort and Soda Springs Ski Resort and descend into California's Gold Country via Highway 20 and the finish line for Stage 2 at the Sacramento State Capitol.

In previous years, the race has drawn some of the world's most recognizable and respected riders, such as top Tour de France competitors, world champions and Olympic medalists including Lance Armstrong, Tom Boonen, Oscar Freire, Paolo Bettini, Fabian Cancellara, Carlos Sastre, Ivan Basso, George Hincapie, Mark Cavendish and Andy Schleck.

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