After a tough time trial the day before, this is the stage where the overall leader will face his greatest challenge in defence of the leader’s jersey while his rivals will take their best shot at wresting it from his shoulders. Starting in Livermore, the race will complete a 100km loop including the Morgan Territory climb and a descent into California’s Central Valley before climbing back into the Livermore Valley over the stair-stepped ramps of the wind-swept Patterson Pass.
The base of Mount Diablo awaits but it will be over 12km into a headwind – sound familiar? – before the final climb. The climb starts with the familiar gentle 10km ascent of South Gate Road. But the final 8km steepen to seven per cent – with the final 500 metres at 17 per cent. This short, steep pitch should produce some exciting drama in an already action-packed stage.