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Cycling's top riders and team staff examined the route of the 2010 Tour of California after it was announced today. They told Cyclingnews that it will be a race to rival the three Grand Tours and its May date allows for more climbing.
Bob Stapleton (Team Manager, Columbia HTC)
We're heading into an interesting time in the sport right now with the Tour (de France), Giro (d'Italia) and Tour of California all announcing their route on top of each other. I think the biggest challenge for the teams now is how to race these three Grand Tours at a high level and how to use their athletes to the maximum effort.
In my opinion California is a Grand Tour now. It has the world’s ninth largest economy directly behind France. The race will be televised in over 100 countries it has a broad following in Europe already. The concentration of these fantastic races in a 90-day period is pretty fantastic for the sport. You’re going to see the world’s eyes on cycling.
Jonathan Vaugthers ( Team Manager, Garmin Slipstream)
The course is by far the most interesting and challenging it’s ever been. I think it’s ideally suited to Zabriskie, with the long gradual climb to Big Bear and the longer time trial. We’ll be going to win, that’s for certain.
The date move won’t compromise anything. We’ll be sending a strong team to the Giro and a strong team to California. Obviously the American riders probably want to do California and the foreigners prefer the Giro.
Roberto Amadio (Team Manager, Liquigas)
The Tour of California has grown a lot. I was there this year. Based on the riders, the organisation and the fans, I would say it is at the level of a Grand Tour, comparable to the Giro d'Italia.
The fans are incredible there, and that's considering it's in a country where cycling is not one of the principle sports.
It's the time frame that leaves me in a bind. It hurts the quality of participation for Tour of California and for the Giro equally. The team managers need to work with the UCI to find a way where these important races are not at the same time.
Liquigas won't be the same competitive team that it could have been if the race was at a different time.
Tyler Farrar (Garmin-Slipstream)
I've raced it last year and this year. The first time there was a downer, half of the field was decimated by a nasty bug. I was so sick and I had to abandon in the leader's jersey.
It's a great race. It is up to the team and depends on what route the Giro offers. I know a lot of times in the States they like to aim for the spectacle, the big mountain stages. They did that this year, even though it was in February. Now it is in May and they are able to go into the high mountains, it can be a challenging race.
I'll probably end up at the race that is more sprinter friendly. California is always a priority for our team, since we are American.
Andy Schleck (Saxo Bank)
I’ve not seen the route details yet but I love California, after home and fishing it’s my favourite place in the World. It might be possible that I’ll be there but I can’t say for sure yet.
If it’s a good course for me then I’ll want to go. Last year we had a good race with Fabien Cancellara winning the time trial and my brother Frank winning the last stage, too.
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