Posted by Editoress on 12/6/06
Stage Details for 2007 Amgen Tour of California Announced
Specific route and race details for the 2007 Amgen Tour of California, a Tour de France style cycling road race in which 16 of the worlds top professional cycling teams will compete along a demanding 650-mile course from San Francisco to Long Beach, Calif. February 18-25 were revealed today by AEG, promoters/presenters of the second year event.
Building on the inaugural stage race that attracted 1.3 million spectators, the 2007 Amgen Tour of California is one of the most anticipated professional cycling races in the U.S. and will feature an even longer, more challenging route. A national television partnership with VERSUS (formerly OLN) to bring daily race coverage to fans throughout the country also was announced.
Over eight days, the race will visit 12 host cities for official stage starts and finishes, with communities along the route getting the chance to see firsthand a lineup of some of the best and most recognizable teams in the world, which already includes Discovery Pro Cycling Team, Team CSC and Predictor-Lotto. Host cities for the eight stages include: San Francisco, Sausalito, Santa Rosa, Sacramento, Stockton, San Jose, Seaside, San Luis Obispo, Solvang, Santa Barbara, Santa Clarita and Long Beach.
"California's varied landscape makes for challenging geographical features, and we designed the 2007 route to include some the most picturesque and demanding terrain in the state," said Shawn Hunter, president of AEG Sports, presenters of the race. "The striking scenery resulting in a truly challenging level of difficulty along the route will ensure an exciting race for riders and spectators alike."
Fans throughout the nation will have the opportunity to enjoy all of the excitement and suspense of the 2007 Amgen Tour of California with nightly recaps on VERSUS, which joins the race as the official television partner. Available in more than 70 million homes, VERSUS, which has provided live coverage of The Tour de France since 2001, is widely considered Americas home of professional cycling. Totaling 14 hours of action-packed programming, same-day coverage will air on VERSUS each of the eight days of the stage race at 11 p.m. ET/8 p.m. PT (most weekday nights) with live and recap coverage on weekends.
"We deliver the best, most comprehensive cycling coverage to our viewers, and the Amgen Tour of California is a compelling addition to our cycling line-up and a great way to kick off the 2007 cycling season on VERSUS, said Marc Fein, senior vice president of programming and production. Its a great television event because, in addition to showcasing intense competition between some of the best cyclists in the world, California provides a beautiful backdrop for all of the action.
Highlights of the 2007 Amgen Tour of California race route include:
Prologue: San Francisco (Sunday, Feb. 18 )
At 1 p.m., riders will kick off the 2007 Amgen Tour of California with a short, but intense Prologue, sponsored by Union Bank of California, through the streets of San Francisco. Starting by the Ferry Building at Pier 1, the cyclists will ride 1.9-mile individual time trials along the Embarcardero, making the sharp left onto Bay Street and then up the tight, steep climb through Telegraph Hill to the finish at Coit Tower.
Stage 1: Sausalito to Santa Rosa (Monday, Feb. 19 )
Starting on the northern side of the San Francisco Bay, Stage 1 will cover almost 100 miles from Sausalito to Santa Rosa. The stage, sponsored by Herbalife, begins with a climb from Mill Valley up to Mt. Tamalpais State Park before turning toward Muir Beach. The route mirrors that of 2006 all the way to Valley Ford, but where the riders headed east to Santa Rosa, the 2007 route will continue north to Bodega Bay and turn onto Coleman Valley Road, a landmark climb in Northern California. Then, spectators can watch the stage win unfold as the field heads downhill from Occidental for three finishing circuit laps in downtown Santa Rosa. In 2006, Santa Rosa set the mark for one of the most enthusiastic and largest crowds of the entire Amgen Tour of California.
Stage 2: Santa Rosa to Sacramento (Tuesday, Feb. 20)
A scenic start through several Sonoma County wineries will quickly turn into one of the most significant climbs of the race as the peloton heads east en route to Sacramento. Twelve miles from the start, Trinity Road's vertical climbs and treacherous decent into the wineries of Napa Valley will make it one of the most difficult climbs of the entire race. Continuing east past Lake Berryessa, the peloton will head through Davis, recently named the best cycling town in the U.S. by Bicycle Magazine. With a quick turn to the north, the route will follow the Sacramento River to the well-known Tower Bridge and on to the Capitol Mall. The stage concludes with three circuits through downtown, finishing on the front step of California's Capitol Building, a perfect viewing location.
Stage 3: Stockton to San Jose (Wednesday, Feb. 21)
After a neutral start with parade laps through Stockton's revitalized downtown area, the peloton will head west through California's farm lands. After passing through Tracy, the riders will encounter a climb new to this year's race, Patterson Pass. After passing through the city of Livermore, The route then connects to the familiar roads of the 2006 Stage 2 route on Calaveras Road. This long, constant grade leads to the most difficult climb of the race, the Category One (highest ranked in order of difficulty) Sierra Road climb in San Jose. After completing this KOM (King of the Mountain) competition, the peloton will finish the 94.6-mile course in front of San Jose City Hall.
Stage 4: Seaside to San Luis Obispo (Thursday, Feb. 22 )
The remarkable views of stage four will make it a favorite for riders and spectators alike. Beginning in Seaside with a short neutral lap and traveling along a similar route to last year's Stage 4, the peloton will head south on scenic Highway 1 where the mountains and redwood forests flank the Pacific Ocean. At more than 130 miles and with three KOMs, this is the longest stage of the race and will test the riders on consistently hilly and technical terrain. The six-hour day will take the riders through Big Sur and by Hearst Castle before shifting inland toward the finish at the intersection of Osos and Monterey in San Luis Obispo.
Stage 5: Solvang Individual Time Trial (Friday, Feb. 23 )
The quaint Danish village of Solvang hosts some of the ProTour teams for training camps as well as some of the largest cycling events in the U.S. At only 14.5-miles, and with the start and finish located only two blocks apart, Stage 5 is an ideal location for spectators to view the race. The route will highlight some of the most beautiful areas and towns of Central California, winding through quaint towns, vineyards, farms, and one short but steep climb. This year's shorter, flatter and faster time trial will create a challenging test for the riders.
Stage 6: Santa Barbara to Santa Clarita (Saturday, Feb. 24)
This could be the pivotal stage for the 2007 Amgen Tour of California. This is one of the longest stages at 105 miles, and it is heavy on climbs with four KOMs, two Sprints and a demanding finishing circuit in Santa Clarita. With the individual time trial late in the tour, there could be several riders separated by just a few seconds. After a start in view of the Santa Barbara shoreline, this stage, sponsored by Health Net, will be the last chance for a solid favorite to emerge before the circuit race finale in Long Beach. Once the peloton hits Highway 150, the racers will face two KOMs before passing Lake Casitas and riding into the scenic town of Ojai for the first Sprint of the day. The third KOM will be just a few miles outside Ojai, and then the course will head downhill into Santa Paula for the second Sprint of the day among fragrant citrus groves. The ominous Balcom Canyon will be the final climb of the day, where in 2006, nearly 10,000 fans formed a narrow corridor for the riders. The cyclists will end the day with three circuits in Santa Clarita that finish at McBean Parkway at the Valencia Town Center.
Stage 7: Long Beach Circuit Race (Sunday, Feb. 25)
Stage 7 is flat, fast, and will be a favorite with spectators, featuring a lot of sprint action as the cyclists race in 10 laps around a circuit course in downtown Long Beach. Sponsored by Amgen, the stage includes part of the famous Long Beach Grand Prix course used for CART race cars, meaning a legacy of roads that are wide and fast. Views of San Pedro Bay and the Pacific Ocean will be visible for the entire course, with a backdrop of the famed Queen Mary in the bay. Organizers expect a hard sprint to the finish; as with all the Grand Tours of Europe, winning the final stage of the 2007 Amgen Tour of California is a prize coveted by the riders.
For complete downloadable course maps and detailed stage information, please visit the press room at www.amgentourofcalifornia.com.
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