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Marathon stage another for the sprinters?
The fifth stage of the Amgen Tour of California was force to re-route after landslides blocked the original route along the coastal Highway 1. The new stage will begin in Seaside and conclude in Paso Robles according to the original plan, however, the race will take an inland route and cross several additional ascents along the way. The stage will include four California Travel and Tourism King of the Mountain (KOM) ascents along with two Herbal Life intermediate sprints.
The first KOM is located roughly 14kms into the stage on Laureles Grade. The peloton will descend into the Carmel Valley where the first sprint is located, approximately 25kms into the race. The next two KOMs will take place back-to-back on Carmel Valley Rd. at roughly 40kms and 48kms. A likely dwindled peloton will descent into Greenfield where the second intermediate sprint in located.
The field will continue to race through the valley until it reaches the final 60kms of undulating terrain that boasts short but painfully steep kicker-climbs all the way into the finishing city of Paso Robles.
Chris Horner, RadioShack:
"Looks like the stage should be hard either way. The climbs are harder than the ones we did going into Paso Robles the last time, or so I'm told, and at 135 miles, it will be a long day in the saddle. The first half will probably be very hard with attacks going on the first climbs. I think it will be a good day for a break to go all the way with a hard start and hard finish, and the fact that the start is difficult should make the break consist of quality riders. That will give the break a good chance of making it to the finish."
Mike Tamayo, UnitedHealthcare Pro Cycling Team:
"With the last minute changes to the stage five course, we are all relying on the profiles and the maps. On paper the stage looks like it could play for the sprinters. The bigger of the two climbs being at the beginning of the stage. The run into Paso Robles looks like a bit of up and down, but the sprinter teams are going to try to control it. If the field breaks up at all, it will still be a large group of 50-60 riders coming to the line."
Image ©: AEG Cycling
Image ©: AEG Cycling