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Tour of California - 2.HC, February 14-22, 2009

Tech

Pro Bike: Markus Zberg's BMC Racemaster SLX01

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Markus Zberg's BMC Racemaster SLX01 isn't the lightest bike , but BMC says its design isn't about shedding grams but rather maximizing stiffness. James Huang finds out its rather unique approach in doing so.

Probike: Robert Gesink's Rabobank Giant TCR Advanced SL

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Cyclingnews looks at the Giant of a future cycling giant. Robert Gesink (Rabobank) impressed many at the Tour of California with another best young rider jersey win, all on the latest iteration of Giant's TCR carbon road racer, the TCR Advanced SL.

Race Tech: Tour of California Tech News

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Giant revises its TT rig to comply with UCI rules, Oakley's Jawbone, The skinny on Rock Racing's dual bike sponsorship, Short-offset seatmast head on the way from Ritchey?

Pro Bike: David Zabriskie's Garmin-Slipstream p/b Chipotle Felt DA

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David Zabriskie has long been regarded as one of America's best exponents of the time trial. He's got the wins to prove it, and as James Huang finds out, his speed machine has the level of intricate detail necessary for a rider of this pedigree.

Pro Bike: Christian Vande Veldes Garmin-Slipstream Felt F1 SL

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Christian Vande Velde embarks on the long process of preparing for this year's Tour de France, beginning at this week's Tour of California. James Huang checked out the rig the Garmin-Slipstream rider hopes to take to success.

Race tech: A stay of execution for now in California

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Petitioning at the Tour of California has seen riders and teams weather the UCI '3:1' tech rule storm, at least for now. James Huang looks at the fine print that has cleared the way for Friday's time trial stage.

Tech news flash: Armstrong's Time Trial bike recovered

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Lance Armstrong's stolen time trial bike has been recovered according to local Police. The condition of the bike is still to be disclosed.

Pro Bike: Francisco Mancebo's Rock Racing Kestrel RT 800

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Rock Racing's Francisco Mancebo shook off controversy surrounding the squad and rode his Kestrel to Tour of California stage victory on Sunday. Cyclingnews looks at Mancebo's RT 800 in close detail.


Race tech: A possible disaster on the horizon?

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Team management and mechanics were awash in panic after rumours swirled that the UCI would be rigidly enforcing a new technical rule at this Friday’s time trial in Solvang. James Huang looks at how it could affect competitors in the Amgen Tour of California.


Race tech: Time trial tech from the Tour of California

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Cyclingnews' James Huang checked out the time trial bikes at the Tour of California prologue. From interesting cable routings to zip-tied bicycle computers, here is his tech impression from the time trial machines.


Pro bike: Alexandre Moos' BMC TT01 Time Machine

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BMC has high hopes for this year's Tour of California after an impressive showing in 2008 by riders such as Scott Nydam and former Swiss national road champion Alexandre Moos. Moos' teammates will all use BMCs second-tier TT02 Time Machine for the time trials at this year's Tour of California, but Moos has been provided with the full-blown TT01 flagship.


Race tech: New gear for the new season

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SRAM had taken a PR hit over the past couple of years as many of their sponsored riders and teams had actually been subbing in other companies' chains, cassettes and chainrings instead of the official Red pieces for any number of reasons. However, that seems to have changed for the 2009 season as there were virtually no mismatched drivetrains to be found.

Stage by Stage

 
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Prologue - February 14: Sacramento (ITT), 3.9 km/2.4 mi

The first day of racing in the 2009 Amgen Tour of California will be a short, but intense, individual time trial of just less than three miles, known as a Prologue. The flat and fast route will likely take each individual cyclist less than five minutes to finish. Although it is short, the Prologue will be packed with excitement and high speed.

Map

 
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Stage 1 - February 15: Davis - Santa Rosa, 173.2 km/107.6 mi

A new stage for the Amgen Tour of California, the route from Davis to Santa Rosa will provide plenty of scenic settings for both the cyclists and the spectators. Beginning in the city of Davis, the route includes evenly spaced climbs throughout the stage and spectacular views. After 20 miles of flat roads, the riders will meet their first climb up a short, but steep section leading up to the Monticello Dam.

Another long, flat section along Lake Berryessa will take the riders to their second climb up Howell Mountain Rd., followed by a fast descent into Napa Valley. After one final climb and a steep descent from Calistoga Road, the cyclists will finish the race with circuit laps in downtown Santa Rosa.

Map

 
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Stage 2 - February 16: Sausalito - Santa Cruz, 186.6 km/115.9 mi

Starting on the northern side of the San Francisco Bay, Stage 2 will cover more than 100 miles from Sausalito to Santa Cruz. The stage will begin with a scenic start in Sausalito on the water and will head south over one of the most iconic structures in the country, the Golden Gate Bridge, and then through the streets of San Francisco.

The route will then take the riders west down the California coastline on Highway 1, flanked by the picturesque backdrops of the Pacific Ocean on one side and Redwood forests on the other. This coastal stage will include two long, but moderate climbs on Tunitas Creek Road and Bonny Doon Road, which will be followed by lengthy and fast descents. The sprint to the finish in Santa Cruz will provide an exciting conclusion to Stage 2 of the race.

Map

 
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Stage 3 - February 17: San José - Modesto, 167.7 km/104.2 mi

Parts of the route for stage three are similar to last year's edition, but unlike that journey which featured the classic Tour of California climb, the Sierra Grade (1,930 ft.), at the end, this time the riders will tackle the beast within the first five miles of the stage.

After completing the Sierra Road climb, the riders will face fast and flat roads full of twists and turns (Calaveras Road alone has more than 40 switchbacks) before climbing Patterson Pass and then descending to level roads for the last half of the stage into Modesto.

Map

 
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Stage 4 - February 18: Merced - Clovis, 187.7 km/115.4 mi

Stage 4 will introduce two new host cities and the Sierra Mountains to the Amgen Tour of California. With four KOMs ("King of the Mountain" competitions) and several sprints, Stage 4 will be a test for the riders with consistently hilly and technical terrain. From the start in Merced to the finish in Clovis, this stage will be characterized by consistent climbing surrounded by the beautiful mountain scenery.

Map

 
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Stage 5 - February 19: Visalia - Paso Robles, 216.1 km/134.3 mi

At more than 130 miles, Stage 5, sponsored by Rabobank, is the longest stage of the race. A new course for the 2009 Amgen Tour of California, the day will start in Visalia and head through the vast stretch of flat roads on the San Joaquin Valley floor.

For the first 100 miles of the stage, the riders will have virtually no protection from the wind, creating a challenging ride. Winding its way back to the coast, the route, which will include two sprints, will pass by vast cattle ranches and farms. Packed full of rolling hills and large horse farms, the final 30-mile run into Paso Robles will be a fast sprint to the finish.

Map

 
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Stage 6 - February 20: Solvang (ITT), 24 km/15 mi

The quaint Danish village of Solvang hosts some of the ProTour teams annually for training camps, as well as some of the largest cycling events in the United States. With the start and finish lines located only one block apart, Stage 6 is an ideal location for spectators to view the race. The route will highlight the beautiful Santa Ynez Valley, winding through quaint towns, vineyards, farms, and one short, but steep climb up Ballard Canyon. This year's short, flat and fast time trial will create a challenging test for the riders and is expected to be a decisive day of the race.

Map

 
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Stage 7 - February 21: Santa Clarita - Pasadena, 143 km/88.9 mi

The stage from Santa Clarita to Pasadena includes a gradual climb from Santa Clarita, through Acton, to the intersection of Angeles Forest Road. The route continues uphill, showcasing the beauty of the San Gabriel Mountains, to the second highest elevation ever reached by the Amgen Tour of California on the towering Millcreek Summit (4,906 ft.).

Descending with a 15-mile run to Angeles Crest Highway, the route begins a fast plunge to the Rose Bowl in Pasadena. The peloton will complete the stage with five, five-mile laps on a very demanding circuit through the area surrounding the Rose Bowl. This course will provide a challenging, action-packed day leading up to the finale on Sunday.

Map

 
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Stage 8 - February 22: Rancho Bernardo - Escondido, 155.8 km/96.8 mi

With the final stage of the 2009 Amgen Tour of California as a difficult point-to-point road race, there is a chance to see an overall lead change, as well as a change in the KOM jersey leader on the last day. With four climbs, including the highest point ever reached in the Amgen Tour of California, and two sprints, the stage could prove to be the most exciting finale to the Tour in history.

With Palomar Mountain, a 11.7 mile, seven percent average grade climb which sports 4,200 feet of climbing coming in the middle of the stage, and the steep but short Cole Grade near the end, it will be a battle from start to finish.

Map

Photos: Jon Devich, Mark Johnson, Mitch Clinton & Jurt Jambretz

 

 

Features

Photo feature: Tour of California in the frame

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Some of America's top names met the best riders from around the globe in a true battle of the titans at this year's Tour of California. The race might be over but now you can relive it with Cyclingnews' best of California photo gallery.

Levi Leipheimer: Tour of California is golden

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Leipheimer's third win in California came with even more fanfare than his previous two, and with the return of one Lance Armstrong to the peloton, the attention surrounding the race grew to a fevered pitch, making Leipheimer's triple title headline news, as Cyclingnews' Laura Weislo discovered.

Floyd Landis: Landis breaks radio silence

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Floyd Landis has avoided the press since the start of the Tour of California, and indeed since he came back from his two-year suspension at the start of February. He broke his silence on Saturday and answered questions at the post-stage press conference after the Tour of California's seventh stage on Saturday in Pasadena.

Tour of California: Who can beat Levi in the Solvang time trial?

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The 24 kilometres of the Tour of California's time trial in Solvang are arguably the most decisive in the race. The top four riders on general classification are separated by only 30 seconds, so the time trial is expected to create some significant time gaps. Cyclingnews' Kirsten Robbins asks: is there anyone who can beat Leipheimer?

Tour of California: Cali-climb-ication

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This year's Amgen Tour of California is loaded with climbs of all shapes and sizes. Which ones will separate the pretenders from the contenders?

Cyclingnews' Bruce Hildenbrand finds there will be a few surprises for the riders.


Chris Horner: Letting the legs do the talking

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American pro cyclist Chris Horner will race side by side with his new teammate Lance Armstrong for the first time, a fact which is surprising since Horner has been openly critical of Armstrong in the past. Horner spoke with BikeRadar.com's Gary Boulanger about how the two senior members of the Astana team are getting on.


The contenders: Preparing for the big show

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The state of California is preparing for legions of cycling fans to descend upon its road sides for the fourth edition of the Amgen Tour. Cyclingnews' Les Clarke takes a look at if and why this year's race will be the biggest cycling show ever to hit US shores.


Astana: Adopting the Californian way

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With the return of Lance Armstrong, it's inevitable to wonder where Astana's allegiance will lie in pursuing overall victory when the race finishes in Escondido on February 22: with two-time defending champion Levi Leipheimer or the seven-time Tour de France champion?

Tour Guide:

Tour News

  • February 23, 2009: Tour of California wrap-up, Tour of California in the frame, Palomar - The smaller Alp d'Huez of America, Sastre abandons but remains positive, American-Continental team success in the Tour of California
  • February 23, 2009: Tour of California is golden
  • February 23, 2009: AG2R steals Rose Bowl limelight, Landis breaks radio silence, Mancebo crashes out of Tour of California
  • February 22. 2009: Basso injured in Solvang, Leipheimer basks in TT glory, Vandborg back in big league, Hamilton holds back in Solvang
  • February 20, 2009: Cavendish's unbeatable lead-out, Solvang time trial favourites
  • February 19, 2009: Sprinters have their day in Clovis, California teams weather UCI '3:1' tech rule storm
  • February 19, 2009: Rider dedicates victory to injured teammate, Armstrong happy with California reception, Odd crashes continue in California, Rock Racing hopes California success leads to security, Cervelo happy despite missing out
  • February 18, 2009: Cervélo passes lead-out test for Hushovd, Officials only 'reporting' on new tech rule, Cold and rain continue in California, Crashes continue under treacherous weather in California, Fraser joins Team Type 1 in California with three broken ribs
  • February 17, 2009: Armstrong collides with motorbike in California, Vaughters proud of his prodigy's ride in California, Ekimov and Leipheimer commend Armstrong, Crash sidelines Jacques-Maynes in hometown Californian stage
  • February 17, 2009: Leipheimer takes big step to number three
  • February 16, 2009: Mancebo reignited after 2006 Operación Puerto link, Leipheimer still in contention, Bad luck hands Landis a different leash, Life tougher out of retirement for Armstrong, Unorthodox finish to California stage, Foul weather grounds race communication plane
  • February 16, 2009: Cancellara abandons Tour of California, Ekimov marks Landis as biggest threat, Landis prepared to fight for the overall, Euser tips Zabriskie
  • February 15, 2009: Armstrong's TT bike stolen
  • February 15, 2009: Hamilton doesn't consider himself overall Tour of California threat
  • February 15, 2009: Miller and Teutenberg cross swords at the Tour of California
  • February 14, 2009: Liquigas riding Tour of California for training
  • February 13, 2009: Hincapie happy outside Armstrong's entourage
  • February 13, 2009: Landis races California despite pre-race crash
  • February 13, 2009: Sastre suffering before California
  • February 12, 2009: Hincapie and Rogers fit for California
  • February 11, 2009: Saxo Bank may surprise in California
  • February 10, 2009: ToC: Leave the paint at home!
  • February 9, 2009: Sevilla looks to ToC climbs
  • February 9, 2009: Team Type 1 to serve dual purpose in California
  • February 7, 2009: Cavendish confident for California, Tour of California women's crit to kick off US season
  • February 4, 2009: Bissell hunts ToC time trial
  • February 3, 2009: Tour of California field announced, Haedo brothers hope to be the fastest, Columbia to meet school children in Solvang
  • February 3, 2009: Sastre heads to California with Giro in mind,
  • January 30, 2009: Tour of California to have the "greatest" line-up ever
  • January 28, 2009: Landis homecoming at Tour of California
  • January 23, 2009: Landis ready for comeback
  • January 12, 2009: Sastre to race in California
  • January 6, 2009: Hincapie to lead Columbia in California
  • January 3, 2009: Nydam eager for California
  • December 20, 2008: Gianetti wants California spot
  • December 19, 2008: Eight ProTour teams for California
  • December 5, 2008: ToC organisers excited
  • December 4, 2008: Tour of California route details
  • December 3, 2008: Course changes to Tour of California