With nearly 3,000m of accumulated climbing and a tough summit finish, stage 2 will provide the first chance for the fans to see the GC favorites reveal their intentions and show their form. Before reaching the race’s first difficulties, the course winds through Temecula’s wine region.
After 80 kilometres the route reaches Hemet and onto the 20km, 884m climb towards Idyllwild. A 24km, 1,220m drop brings the peloton into the Coachella Valley. The stretch to the summit finish could be ridden into a very stiff headwind, while the final ascent features a 6.4km, 580m climb averaging 9.7 per cent, the last half-mile at over 14 per cent.
With potential temperatures of around 38°C, a real epic is possible. Road signs warn drivers to turn off their air conditioning to avoid overheating as they climb. The contenders for the overall race title won’t have that same decision to make.