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Active Expert: Bruce Hildenbrand

2 Posts tagged with the aeg tag

More detiails of the route of the 2010 Amgen Tour of California are becoming available. The official route announcement is scheduled to begin on February 9th wit the information on several stages to be made public each day over the following four days.

 

It appears that the route for Stage 3, San Francisco to Santa Cruz, will take in four significant climbs. The first will be Tunitas Creek which will be followed by a sharp descent down King's Mountain Road into Silicon Valley. After only about a mile in the valley, it will head back up Highway 84, a 3-mile, 1000 ascent to the town of Skylonda which is at the junction of Highway 84 and Highway 35(Skyline Boulevard). The route will continue down Highway 84, but unlike last year, it will turn onto Pescadereo Road just past the town of La Honda and ascend Haskins HIll a 2-mile 600-foot climb.

 

The stage will continue on Pescadero Road out to Highway 1. From there the route will be the same as last year including the final climb of Bonny Doon Road.

 

The all important stage 7 time trial will be held in downtown Los Angeles, starting and ending at AEG's(the owner of the AToC) Staples Center, home of the Los Angeles Lakers and Kings. The course is 21 miles in length and shaped like a barbell, two loop on either end of a straight section connnecting them. Beside visiting the Los Angeles Civic Center, it will also visit the USC campus and the LA Ciliseum. The course has a lot of ups and down including the notoriously steep Figuero Road.

 

Stage 8 will be held in the Santa Monica Mountains in and around the Thousand Oaks area which is the headquarters for the race's sponsor Amgen. The meat of the stage will be four laps of a 21-mile loop which includes the popular local climb called Rock Store a 2-mile ascent averaging 7%. The loop also contains a long section on Mullholand Highway and a screaming, technical descent down Westlake Boulevard back to Thousand Oaks. Agoura Road will take the riders back to the start of the climbing on the loop. There will be 7000 feet of total climbing on this stage which could be decisive given the sharp climbs, the narow roads and the technical dscending (down grades up to 15%).

 

One interesting note is the that on-course TV work will be performed by the same French crew which brings you those stunning pictures during the Tour de France. The race organizers have a partnership with the Tour de France organiers, ASO, which undoubtedly is one reason the entire French TV motorcycle crew will be coming to California to help broadcast the race.

 

Bruce

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The Doping Problem

Posted by Bruce E Hildenbrand Jan 23, 2008

Good news on the doping front (when have we heard that, lately?). It appears

that the Anschutz Entertainment Group (AEG), organizers of the Amgen Tour of

California(AToC) have teamed with USA Cycling and the United States Anti-Doping

Agency(USADA) to bring tight doping controls to the 2008 AToC. The controls

appear to be a manifestation of the "biological passport" adopted by the World

Anti-Doping Agency(WADA) at its recent summit in Madrid.

 

Briefly, the biological passport is a history of an athlete's drug testing and

biological parameters (haematocrit, testosterone levels, etc.) which will be

used to set a baseline physiology and also record of when he/she has been

tested to determine if an athlete is within those parameters or taking performance

enhancing drugs(ped's). Interestingly enough, during an interview I conducted

with then-USADA chief, Frank Shorter, way back in 2001, this exact subject came

up and Frank, the 1972 Olympic Gold Medalist in the marathon, was a huge

proponent of a testing passport.

 

One of the things I vowed to do with this blog was to keep the frequency of my

postings on doping to a minimum. To be sure, we need to have a dialog about

this subject because it seems, right now, to be plaguing our sport.  But there

are so many other interesting things to talk about. But, this recent development

is pretty darn big.

 

AToC race director, Jim Birrell, told me that in 2006 the total cost of dope

testing at the race was $2300. This year, according to the agreement, over

$100,000 will be spent in an attempt to insure a clean race. That's some

major coin and it represents, IMHO, a very serious and aggressive attempt to

re-instill the confidence in the fans of the sport that the riders are, indeed,

exceptionally gifted athlete's with a burning desire to be first across the

line.

 

Will money, which means increased frequency of testing and more tests, solve

the problem? After last year's Tour de France, I sent a proposal to the race

organizers to help restore credibility to their event. I proposed that they

include a new procedure during the time trials that as each rider crosses the

finish line, they are escorted to doping control to give blood and urine.

Unlike the road stages, where bunch finishes are common, in the time trials,

each rider crosses the line at about 1-2 minute intervals. With four or five

teams of sample takers each rider could be serviced in a prompt manner and

then sent on to their team bus.

 

However, proposals such as mine take major benjamins. But, if the sport is

going to survive, maybe that is the only solution. Some of the major

professional teams such as Slipstream/Chipotle, High Road Sports and CSC have

invested beacoup bucks to test their riders, out-of-competition.  Maybe it is

time for the other pro teams and also the UCI to follow suit and increase their

out-of-competition testing.

 

Whadda you all think?

 

Bruce(BEH)

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