Organisers of the Amgen Tour of California and the Breakaway from Heart Disease Women's Race today announced route details from the two events, which start on May 11 for the women and on May 14 for the men.
Mt. Hamilton will join previously announced Mt. Baldy as one of the main obstacles on the men's 927km route, while the women's 413km race will likely be animated by the two opening stages in South Lake Tahoe.
Establishing the GC pecking order early
After the inaugural Tour of California WorldTour race starts with an opening stage in Sacramento on a flat course that will lend itself to a field sprint, the men will tackle a second stage that could provide the general classification contenders with their first opportunity to show off their form.
The men will tackle Mt. Hamilton during the race's second stage, which uses the same finish as the 2015 stage won by Hincapie rider Toms Skujins after a daring, long-range solo move. Peter Sagan won the field sprint on the final uphill grind.
Stage 2 will throw five categorised climbs at the peloton before the finish at the Santa Clara Motorcycle Park. The climb Del Puerto Canyon will start the barrage of ascents, with three additional KOMs coming in succession before hors category climb up and over Mt. Hamilton. A technical descent down Quimby Road provides a chance to collect any escapees before the final ascent to the finish.
The 186.5km third stage starts in Pismo Beach and ends in Morro Bay, where the sprinters will face a 0.5km climb to the finish if they've managed to sweep up any breakaways.
Stage 4 is another opportunity for the sprinters who can make it over the day's four classified climbs over Casitas Pass [second summit], Santa Paula Road and Balcom Canyon.
The peloton will face Mt. Baldy on the Queen stage during day five, a 125.5km route from Ontario to the top of the iconic Southern California peak. The route includes KOMs on Glendora Mountain Road and Glendora Ridge Road before the summit finish. Julian Alaphilippe won on Mt. Baldy when the stage finished here in 2015, but Sagan, the eventual GC winner, kept his overall hopes alive with a surprising ride.
The general classification contenders will have another shot at consolidating a lead or taking back some time during the stage 6 individual time trial in Big Bear Lake. The race was supposed to visit the California mountain time for a time trial in 2015, but a freak May snowstorm cancelled those plans. The 24km course starts on the south side of town, travels across the lake to Fawnskin, then returns to a finish on the Big Bear Lake jetty. Although the course is relatively flat, its sits at nearly 2,100 metres above sea level.
With the general classification likely decided, the final stage from the Mountain High Ski Resort to Pasadena looks good for another field sprint. Although the stage profile is generally downhill all the way, the peloton will contest KOMs on Mt. Emma Road, Angeles Forest Highway and Upper Big Tujunga Road before the finish in downtown Pasadena.
The peloton crests the Mt. Hamilton climb in 2014.
Tahoe routes likely to decide women’s race
The women's race, which is once again on the Women's WorldTour, will start in South Lake Tahoe with to stages that will go a long way to establishing the final general classification.
Stage 1 is a 117km clockwise loop around the lake that straddles the California and Nevada borders. The stage will feature two sprints, more than 1,600 metres of elevation gain and two Queen of the Mountain climbs. The final climb is a brutal ascent back to the finish at Heavenly Mountain Resort.
The brand-new route for stage 2 also starts in South Lake Tahoe before the peloton heads south on a 108km loop with one short detour. The stage includes two large climbs and an uphill finish that organisers believe will whittle the lead group down to five to 10 riders who will be fighting for the overall lead. The final QOM of the stage will greet the riders at the finish at Heavenly Mountain Resort.
From the Tahoe area, the peloton will travel west to Elk Grove for the start of stage 3. The route, which ends in Sacramento, is flat, fast and primed for a full-on field sprint.
The final stage for the women will be the traditional circuit race in Sacramento around the Capitol mall. This flat 3.5km course features six turns and encompasses the Capitol building while passing by several other notable state government buildings. The 90-minute race will include 20 laps of the circuit, beginning shortly after the men depart the course to begin their opening stage.
2017 Amgen Tour of California, May 14-20
Stage 1 – Sacramento, 167.5km
Stage 2 – Modesto to San Jose, 143km
Stage 3 – Pismo Beach to Morro Bay, 186.5km
Stage 4 – Santa Barbara to Santa Clarita, 159.5km
Stage 5 – Ontario to Mt. Baldy, 125.5km
Stage 6 – Big Bear Lake (ITT), 24km
Stage 7 – Mountain High to Pasadena, 125km
2017 Amgen Breakaway from Heart Disease Women's Race empowered with SRAM, May 11-14
Stage 1 – South Lake Tahoe, 117km
Stage 2 – South Lake Tahoe, 108km
Stage 3 – Elk Grove to Sacramento, 118km
Stage 4 – Sacramento, 70km