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A sprinter's delight on downhill run
Stage two introduces a lengthy 214 kilometre route beginning in North Lake Tahoe and concluding in Sacramento for what will likely be a field sprint. Although the route is predominantly downhill, there is one California Travel & Tourism Commission King of the Mountain (KOM) ascent on Donner Pass, a 3.6 kms climb that averages a 6.8 percent gradient located 24 kms into the stage.
Although it is not a classified climb, the field will have to tackle Lowell Hill, a 2.5 km climb with an average 7 percent gradient located 63 km into the stage. The remainder of the route is undulating downhill with one Herbal Life intermediate sprint located in Nevada City. The race will end on two finishing circuits in Sacramento.
Chris Horner, RadioShack:
"Stage two should certainly be a field sprint. Even though riders will have time gaps from stage one, this day will be for the sprinter teams. I don’t think those teams will disappoint and I would pick the top sprinters in the race for that day."
Mike Tamayo, UnitedHealthcare Pro Cycling:
"The Sacramento finish has been the host to a sprint finish several years. The 2011 edition of the stage has all the markers of another fast bunch kick. The KOM and highest point on the course happen in the first 20 miles of a 133 mile day. After the KOM on Donner pass the profile is pointing all downhill.
"The route into the city are long straight roads on the flat outskirts of the city. Like previous years, the finishing circuits will give the crowds something cheer about. Positioning entering the circuits has and will play a factor again, as we see the field negotiating many high speed turns before the sprint finish. Look for the true sprinters to shine on this course, especially those with a good team to support them."
Image ©: AEG Cycling
Image ©: AEG Cycling