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Active Expert: Bruce Hildenbrand

1 Post tagged with the nevada_city tag
On October 22nd the organizers of the Amgen Tour of California(AToC) unveiled the 2010 route and, not surprisingly, it was very similar to the route described in my blog at:

http://community.active.com/blogs/BruceHildenbrand/2009/10/05/2010-tour-of-california-route-fact-trumps-speculation

There are several items worth adding. First and foremost is that Lance Armstrong has apparently made his decision whether to ride the AToC or the Giro which had conflicting dates. The good news is that Lance has said that he will be on the start line in Nevada City when the AToC begins on Sunday May 16th.

Lance's participation in the AToC is a huge boost to the race which has been extremely popular, but has yet to show a profit for AEG, the event's owner. Having Lance on board will give the AToC it's best chance at success. Rumor has it that if the race doesn't show a profit this year, AEG may decide to either sell the race or disband it.

Another interesting observation is that there will be a lot of climbing and, finally, a mountain-top finish. The queen stage of the race is stage 6 from Pasadena to Big Bear Lake which is rumored to contain over 13,000 feet of climbing. Unfortunately, the Station Fire, which ravaged a portion of the San Gabriel mountains may prevent the stage from climbing up to the Angeles Crest Highway.

However, if that hurdle is cleared, look for the very challenging stage to begin with a massive, 5000+ foot climb from Azusa on Highway 39 to the Angeles Crest Highway. This ascent, known locally as 'Cloudburst', is very similar in length and percent grade with the big, legendary climbs of the Tour de France like the Col du Tourmalet or Col du Glandon.

Once the race reaches the Angeles Crest Highway, there is a about 1500'-2000' of up-and-down ridge riding on the way to Wrightwood. If the race descends from Wrightwood all the way down to San Bernadino, the final ascent to Big Bear Lake is 5000+ feet. Though the grade of this climb is a bit shallower than 'Cloudburst' look for major fireworks on the long grind uphill to the finish.

With a 30-mile, flat time trial the next day in Los Angeles and a tough circuit race featuring the 2-mile, 10% Rock Store climb the final three days in the 2010 AToC will be nothing short of spectacular. Three-time AToC champion Levi Leipheimer is clearly one of the favorites, but with the switch to a May time frame he might find a few more competitors with potential race-winning form. On paper it looks to be a very exciting race.

Bruce
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