Stage 1: Escondido
The first half of today’s stage is mostly uphill heading from Escondido through Ramona before passing Dudley’s Famous Bakery in Santa Ysabel. The route then heads west on the loop of Mesa Grande road, arriving at the shores of Lake Henshaw and the looming Palomar Mountain – the highest point of the entire race.
East Grade road ascends 817m (2,680ft) in 19 kilometres at an average of 4.5 per cent. The climb eases off in the final 6.4 kilometres so a concerted chase group could bring back any solo efforts.
A hair-raising descent down South grade road will hopefully see the peloton reach the bottom in one piece. passing through orange groves the last difficulty is Cole Grade, a short, steep ramp that could eject a few stragglers.
The last 32 kilometres have a few short rollers, but the terrain should see the peloton regroup and set up a sprint finish. can we say Peter Sagan?
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