The 2007 Tour of Virginia bicycle stage race is set to run from April 24-29. Now in its fifth year, the Tour of Virginia, formerly Tour of Shenandoah, continues to draw up-and-coming pro and elite amateur cyclists. The new name and larger geographic footprint reflect the growing national importance of the race. The six day race will journey through the Blue Ridge Mountains of central Virginia.
Matt Butterman, Director, commented on the race's appeal to developing riders. "We style our race after international events like the Tour de lAvenir in France, and the Peace Race in eastern Europe; races in which the young riders have their chance to shine."
The race starts with a five mile individual time trial in Natural Bridge. That evening, racers will tackled a Stage 2 criterium through the revitalized waterfront section of downtown Lynchburg.
Stage 3 is the first of three consecutive long, scenic, and hilly road races. Leaving from the National D-Day Memorial in Bedford, the course meanders through rolling farmlands and along the James River and near Lexington before climbing up Warm Springs Mountain, just outside of Clifton Forge. After seven miles up a Category 1 rated climb, the racers will descend into the new venue city of Covington.
Riders will face the most hills on Stage 4 leaving from Hot Springs, in the shadow of the Homestead Resort and passing through the Maury River Gorge before tackling the Blue Ridge twice: first at the Category 1 climb of Montebello, then the viciously steep east slope of Reeds Gap, made famous in the Tour DuPont race of the 1990s. It wraps up in Waynesboro.
A 99-mile route sampling the rolling hills of the central Shenandoah Valley between Waynesboro and Staunton awaits racers on Stage 5. A succession of short, steep climbs will take their toll. The Stage 6 criterium in Harrisonburg is followed by the final stage which starts and finishes in Charlottesville, a new venue for the race. A 100 mile road race will wind throughout Albemarle county and finish downtown.
April 24: Stage 1 - Natural Bridge Time Trial, 5 miles& Stage 2 - Lynchburg Criterium 5 miles, 25 miles
April 25: Stage 3 - Bedford to Covington Road Race, 108 miles
April 26: Stage 4 - Hot Springs to Waynesboro Road Race, 107 miles
April 27: Stage 5 - Waynesboro to Staunton Road Race, 99 miles
April 28: Stage 6 - Harrisonburg Criterium, 35 miles Sunday
April 29: Stage 7 - Charlottesville/Albemarle Road Race, 100 miles