By Mark Zalewski
With the start of the International Tour de Toona little more than a week away, organisers of the race have finalized slight changes to the professional race from previous years. The more significant change will be to the opening time trial course in downtown Altoona. Last year's time trial began and ended in different locations due to construction, but will now be able to return to a more fan-friendly parcours.
The 4.8km course is laid-out like a small circuit race, with many tight turns. "We started on the other side of the Norfolk Southern mainline last year because of the reconstruction of Altoona's 7th Street Bridge," race promoter Rick Geist explained. "This year, with a brand new 7th Street bridge open and carrying traffic across the railroad mainline, we can start and finish at the same place – in the traditional heart of the city, downtown."
The race also features the traditional category races within the race, but with one additional jersey on offer each day. Labelled the 'move-up' category, the jersey will be awarded to the rider who increases his/her placing the most each day.