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Prime hunting for breakaway riders in San Jose hills
Stage 4 could lure out the top climbers and overall general classification contenders with a 131km stage from Livermore to San Jose that ends in with an uphill ascent on the notorious Sierra Road.
The stage will begin with a gradual ascent before hitting the first of five California Travel and Tourism Commission King of the Mountain (KOM) climbs located approximately 30 kilometres into the stage on Mines Rd. The short, sharp hill is followed by two quick ascents on San Antonio Canyon Rd at kilometres 70 and 82.
The climbing will continue up the back side of Mt. Hamilton, a 6.8 km ascent of 8.4 percent gradient that tops out at kilometre 89. The race will conclude on the grueling Sierra Rd climb that boasts a 9.4 percent gradient over the 5.6 km to the finish line.
Chris Horner, RadioShack:
"Stage four, with the Sierra Rd summit finish, is the first time that I believe a breakaway will go the complete distance and someone from the breakaway will win the stage. I don’t believe anyone from the breakaway will take the leader’s jersey but I do believe someone from the breakaway will actually win the stage.
"I think the overall classification battle will be hotly contested from behind and the Sierra Road ascent, which will show who is really in the running to win the Tour of California."
Mike Tamayo, UnitedHealthcare Pro Cycling:
"This should be the first real test between the top GC riders at the Tour of California. The tour is no stranger to Sierra Road. Also historically when the race was held in February, Mt. Hamilton would be one of the selective points of the Tour of California. Now it’s the first test. An 81-mile stage may not seem very long, but I think the first battle amongst the GC riders will happen here. A great opportunity for the climbers to size one another up."
Image ©: AEG Cycling
Image ©: AEG Cycling