Stage 7: Los Angeles - Los Angeles
Stage 7, an individual time trial, could set an all-time attendance record. The riders will cover two laps of the 10.5-mile (33.6km) circuit which goes past many of the city's landmarks. Starting at Figueroa Street and 12th Street, the riders will first head south, passing by the Los Angeles Convention Center and the University of Southern California and Exposition Park, before circling around the LA Coliseum and heading back north. The second half of the course will feature two short steep climbs, and the riders will probably not notice when they pass by the Millennium Biltmore Hotel, Walt Disney Concert Hall, Cathedral of Our Lady of the Angels and the Los Angeles City Hall.
Hitting the northernmost point of the course at the intersection of Temple Street and Grand Avenue, the riders will then head back south to the finish line at Chick Hearn Court and LA LIVE, an entertainment complex containing concert halls, theatres, museums, and restaurants.
The riders are expected to cover the course in anywhere from 41 to 48 minutes. The first 90 riders will go off at one-minute intervals, with the final 30 at two-minute intervals.
On paper I'd say the race will still have four to five top riders within 30 seconds of one another when we come to this time trial. The race will have been tough, but I can't see a stage that will absolutely separate Leipheimer, Nibali, Rogers, Gesink, and Zabriskie before the time trial, so this will be the day that gives the final nod to the winner. A course with long straights and just a few hills, it will suit Zabriskie and Cancellara much more than the Solvang time trial used to. Fatigue will also be a bigger part of the result than in the past, as this is stage 7, and the riders will be tired after the hellish day to Big Bear. That suits Leipheimer and Nibali more than Zabriskie and Cancellara.
Tough to come up with a good pick... It should be interesting to say the least.
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