March 6/08 7:58 am - 2008 Tour de Georgia Route Unveiled
Posted by Editor on 03/6/08
2008 Tour de Georgia Route Unveiled
Details about the 600 miles of racing for the 2008 Tour de Georgia presented by AT&T were unveiled today by event organizers. The sixth season for this prestigious professional cycling event will include a record 13 Georgia Power Sprint lines and eight United Community Bank King of the Mountain climbs during the seven days of racing, April 21 to 27.
On Monday, April 21, the Tour will begin for the first time on Tybee Island, Ga., located on the coast. The event will move north along the eastern side of the state, entering South Carolina for the first time as part of the Stage 2 finish in Augusta, Ga. A 10-mile Team Time Trial at Road Atlanta is also a first and is expected to attract a record crowd for Stage 4. There will be a new route for one the signature mountain stages in the Blue Ridge Mountains before the event finishes with a new circuit course in downtown Atlanta on Sunday, April 27.
"The route this year will continue to challenge the best cyclists in the world over varied terrain, and it will provide thousands of race fans a chance to see many new beautiful parts of Georgia. The Tour de Georgia presented by AT&T has firmly established itself on the international racing calendar as one of the premier tune-up stage races for the Grand Tours of Europe, like the Tour de France. It has also substantiated itself as a showcase event for Georgia tourism and our world-class southern hospitality," said Chris Aronhalt, managing partner of Medalist Sports and Event Director for the Tour de Georgia. Medalist Sports is responsible for all route planning and race logistics.
The Tour de Georgia presented by AT&T remains one of the highest ranked stage races outside of Europe with a 2.HC rating from the Union Cycliste Internationale (international governing body of cycling), and was the first race in North America to receive this top rating. It is one of 15 races on the 2008 USA Cycling Professional Tour. The event has grown from a five-stage race in 2003 to a seven-stage weeklong contest with 600 miles of racing. Last year the Tour challenged 15 of the top U.S. and ProTour professional teams with its longest route, covering 667 miles.
Stage One features the first of five new host venues, Tybee Island. The Overall Start of the seven-day race makes its inaugural seaside visit on Monday, April 21st. The stage will begin at 10:30 a.m. on Tybee Island, covering 71.8 miles (115.6 km) through the coastal Lowcounry of Chatham County. It has been five years since the Tour de Georgia has been contested in Savannah, where stage 1 finishes
Stage Two will depart Tuesday from first-time host Statesboro, Ga., located 50 miles north of Savannah. This 115.7 mile (186.2 km) route will include two Georgia Power Sprints and the first official climb of the week, a United Community Bank King of the Mountain (KOM) competition in North Augusta. A circuit finish in downtown Augusta will take cyclists into South Carolina for the first time.
Stage Three makes its inaugural start in historic Washington, Ga. on Wednesday, April 23rd. Situated about 35 miles north of Augusta, Washington, considered one of the most picturesque small towns in Georgia, will fire the start gun at 11:00 a.m. for a 109.7 mile (176.5 km) stage across rolling terrain to Gainesville.
Two firsts for the Tour will take place on Thursday, April 24th - venue and event. Stage Four features a 10-mile (16.1 km) Team Time Trial at Road Atlanta. Renowned for its hilly 2.5-mile, 12-turn race track used for motorsports events like Petit Le Mans, Road Atlanta will host a Tour stage for the first time. The Tour de Georgia has hosted an individual time trial for four consecutive years, but this is the inaugural Team Time Trial. In this exciting race against the clock, each team must field all eight riders at one time. Teams will begin in heats; two teams on the track at once.
The longest stage of the Tour will take place on Friday, April 25th, passing through 10 Georgia counties. Stage Five is 133.4 miles in length (214.7 km) and challenges riders with three UCB KOMs (Burnt Mtn, Woody Gap, Crown Mtn). The epic day of climbing begins in Suwanee, Ga., the first time the Tour has started in Gwinnett County. A new route will wind north, with a Georgia Power Sprint in Cumming, to the finish line in Dahlonega, GA.
Stage Six features the signature climb of the Tour de Georgia presented by AT&T, the stage finish at the highest spot in Georgia (4,783 feet), Brasstown Bald Mountain. What makes the climb so difficult is the 88.4 miles (142.3 km) of racing through the Appalachian Mountains of Georgia, including UCB KOM climbs across Hogpen Gap and Unicoi Gap; points for a third KOM climb will be awarded on the top of Brasstown Bald. Blairsville, the seat of Union County and home to United Community Bank, will host the stage start for a third time. The National Forest Service, which operates the visitor center at Brasstown Bald Mountain in Union County, expects over 25,000 spectators to watch the final 3.12 miles of the race on this final climb.
The Tour de Georgia returns to Atlanta, Ga. for a third time for Stage Seven on Sunday, April 27th. There will be a new circuit race on the streets of the Capitol city, beginning and ending at Centennial Olympic Park. The grand finale of the Tour will be 62.7 miles (100.9 km) in length.
Details and maps for all stages are available at the official website, www.tourdegeorgia.com. Additional resources such as log sheets, elevation profiles and recommended viewing locations will be added to the website in the coming weeks.