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The BMC Teammachine of the American GC hopeful
Hyper-aggressive position for the sprint lead-out
How much air pressure pros use at the Tour de France
National theme bike for Tour's lone Japanese rider
The profile of the Mt. Baldy stage
Final two stages to end sixth edition with drama
The details of the final two stages of the 6thAmgen Tour of California have been released, revealing an epic penultimate stage to Mt. Baldy and a challenging new finale in Thousand Oaks. Today's announcement follows the full details of the opening three stages and stages 4, 5, and 6.
Stage 7 from Claremont to Mt. Baldy will present riders with 75.8 miles of racing and the most daunting obstacle ever included in the Tour of California - a brutal final climb that ascends over 5,000 vertical feet, with more than 2000 feet covered in the final 10km of the stage.
Starting in the college town of Claremont, the course heads immediately uphill for eight miles to the village of Baldy for the first KOM before looping back up Glendora Ridge Road for another mile of climbing. A 12-mile respite precedes a technical descent to the San Gabriel Reservoir and down into Glendora for the only sprint of the day.
The race then sends riders up the Glendora Mountain Road climb, which has been the time trial stage of the San Dimas Stage Race for nearly a decade, but for the first time since fires and erosion closed the upper portion in 2004, the full length of the 8.5 mile climb will be used in competition.
The climbing doesn't stop there, as riders face another 12 miles of gradual uphill before reaching Baldy Village for the second time. Once the riders turn onto Baldy Road, they hit three steep miles of ascending which is just a warm-up for the final push to the line.
The final 2.5 miles punishes the riders with 10 torturous switchbacks with grades so steep it will seem more like the Monte Zoncolan than Alpe d'Huez.
The race's first ever high mountain finish brings the level of difficulty up to that of a Grand Tour stage, and will surely decide a worthy winner of the race.
On the final day, stage 8 completes the Tour with an 80-mile dash from Santa Clarita to the home of the race's title sponsor Amgen, Thousand Oaks.
After a relatively flat 30-mile opening stretch, riders will suffer up the race's final KOM at Balcolm Canyon, a short but painfully steep pitch sure to be packed with fans. One final climb on the Norwegian Grade precedes a welcome downhill run into Thousand Oaks for the first of five flat and fast circuits.
Full details of the 2011 route can be found at the race website, www.amgentourofcalifornia.com.
"Creating the route each year for the Amgen Tour of California is a difficult task, but luckily, the state of California is rich with beautiful yet challenging terrain, perfect for our race," said Andrew Messick, president of AEG Sports.
"We are really excited about this year's route as it is by far the most challenging course to date, and we are thrilled to announce our route through some really creative, unique videos that were created by the race's 15 Host Cities. Each video showcases our detailed route, as well as the communities themselves, from a local perspective."