The third stage from San Francisco to Santa Cruz will take in some of the most spectacular scenery that California has to offer as well as providing a potential launching pad for those riders seeking a high finish in the overall classification.
Departing from Ocean Beach in San Francisco rather than imposing a traffic jam of biblical proportions on the city by crossing the Golden Gate bridge as the route did last year, the race heads due South to take in the almost obligatory stint on the Pacific Coast Highway. Following the same route as last year, the riders will take in the wild beauty of Half Moon Bay before turning inland toward Kings Mountain toward the first difficulty of the day on Tunitas Creek Road.
The route then heads south again toward La Honda on highway 84, but rather than staying on the road for a flatter route to the coast, the route turns onto Pescadero Road to take in two climbs before dropping back to sea level on highway 1.
But the fun isn't over, because after nearly 150km of racing there is still one more major climb, the Bonny Doon Road climb which Levi Leipheimer used to catapult himself into the overall lead last year.