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2008 Amgen Tour of California Route
By Vaughn Trevi
Date: 11/24/2007
2008 Amgen Tour of California Route

2008 Amgen Tour of California Route
Eight Days - 650 Miles: A "Race to the Sun" from the Bay area to the home of the Rose Parade in Pasadena returns for its third edition with a tougher course to showcase the "Golden State". Maps, Stages and commentary.

The Amgen Tour of California returns with a more challenging course for 2008. Building on the success of 2007 when the race drew more than 1.6 million spectators, surpassing the inaugural yearís turnout and setting records in attendance for a single sporting event in California, and stage race held in the United States. One of the most anticipated professional cycling races in the United States, featuring elite professional teams  will bring the drama and excitement of a professional cycling stage race to the California coast for a third consecutive year while showcasing more than 650 miles of scenic California highways, roadways and coastline drives.

2008 Tour of California Stages - February 17 - 24
Prologue: Palo Alto to Stanford Uni - ITT 2.1 mi./3.4 km
Stage 1: Sausalito to Santa Rosa - 97 mi./156 km
Stage 2: Santa Rosa to Sacramento - 116 mi./187 km
Stage 3: Modesto to San Jose - 103 miles/166 km
Stage 4: Seaside to San Luis Obispo - 135 mi./217 km
Stage 5: Solvang - Individual Time Trial - 15 mi./24 km
Stage 6: Santa Barbara to Santa Clarita - 109 mi./175 km
tage 7: Santa Clarita to Pasadena - 93 mi./150 km

Scheduled over eight consecutive days from February 17-24, 2008, the race will visit 12 host cities for official stage starts and finishes, with communities along the route getting the chance to see, firsthand, a lineup of some of the best and most recognizable teams and cyclists in the world. Host cities for the Prologue and seven stages include: Palo Alto-Stanford University (new in 2008), Sausalito, Santa Rosa, Sacramento, Modesto (new in 2008), San Jose, Seaside, San Luis Obispo, Solvang, Santa Barbara, Santa Clarita and Pasadena (new in 2008).

"The challenging geographical features and picturesque landscape of California provide the perfect combination of elements for a world-class cycling event," said Kristin Bachochin, senior director of AEG Sports, presenter of the race. "For the third year of the Amgen Tour of California, we remain committed to upgrading and enhancing every element of the race experience for the cyclists and spectators by creating an even more challenging and exciting race."

2008 Tour of California Stages
Prologue: Palo Alto to Stanford Uni - ITT 2.1 mi./3.4 km
Start Time: 1:00 pm - ETA: 3:30 pm

Prologue Map pdf.
Sunday, February 17, 2008 the race kicks off at 1 p.m. with a short, but intense, individual time trial of just over two miles. The flat and fast route sponsored by CSC will favor the fastest wheels in the test of time for the first shot at the golden fleece of race leader.

2007 Prologue: Levi Leipheimer took the tours " Golden Fleece" of race leader from the first day of the tour.        Photo c. Mark Adkison Ph.D.

The Stanford Oval will give spectators the chance to see the riders complete a full 360-degree loop before they head to the finish line at the intersection of Palm Dr. and Museum Way on the Stanford University campus.

Stage 1: Sausalito to Santa Rosa - 97 mi./156 km
Start Time: 11:00 am - ETA: 2:20 - 2:50 pm
Stage 1 Map pdf.  
Monday, February 18, 2008: Starting on the northern side of the San Francisco Bay, Stage 1 will cover nearly 100 miles from Sausalito to Santa Rosa. The stage, sponsored by Herbalife, begins with a climb from Mill Valley up to Mt. Tamalpais State Park before turning toward Muir Beach.

2007 Stage 1 proved to be "Down Under" day at the tour with Rabobank's Aussie Graeme Browne nipping T-Mobs Kiwi Greg Henderson at the line in Santa Rosa.   Photo c. Mark Adkison Ph. D.

The relatively flat route should be a day for the sprinters to shine if their teams can control the race and chase back the expected early break on Mount Tamalpais. The course will take the riders north toward Bodega Bay and Coleman Valley Road, a landmark climb in Northern California. Spectators can watch the stage win unfold as the peloton heads downhill from Occidental for three finishing circuits in downtown Santa Rosa. In previous years, the Santa Rosa fans have set the mark for one of the largest and most enthusiastic crowds of the entire race.

Stage 2: Santa Rosa to Sacramento - 116 mi./187 km
Start Time: 10:00 am - ETA: 2:15 - 3:00 pm

Stage 2 Map Pdf
Tuesday, February 19, 2008: A scenic start through the Sonoma Wine Country will quickly turn into one of the most significant climbs of the race as Stage 2, sponsored by Union Bank of California, takes the peloton east en route to the state's capital, Sacramento. Twelve miles from the start, Trinity Road's vertical climbs and treacherous decent into the Napa Valley wine country will make it one of the most difficult climbs of the entire race, as proven during the 2007 Amgen Tour of California. The day will favor an escape on the canyon climb on Trinity Road... but if like last year the long drive from the end of the descent will have

2007 Stage 2: J.J. Haedo Delivers for CSC. Photo © Mark Adkison Ph.D.

Continuing east past Lake Berryessa, the peloton will ride across the Sacramento Delta cities of Winters and Davis. Davis is a hot bed of cycling in California with more than a few pro riders calling it home. With a quick turn to the north, the route will follow the Sacramento River to the Tower Bridge and on to Capitol Mall in Sacramento. The stage concludes with three circuit through downtown, finishing on the front steps of California's Capitol building, a perfect viewing location for race spectators.

Stage 3: Modesto to San Jose - 103 miles/166 km
Start Time: 10:00 am - ETA: 1:45 - 2:45 pm

Stage 3 Map Pdf
Wednesday, February 20, 2008 A new course for Stage 3 this year will begin with a neutral parade laps through Modesto's revitalized downtown area before heading south through California's scenic farmlands of the Central Valley. After passing through Patterson, the cyclists will encounter a defining portion of the 2008 Amgen Tour with three climbs on the agenda. The stage should favor the long break and climbers who will attempt to reach the finish in the last 18 miles of rolling and flat terrain into San Jose.

A 26-mile section full of twists and turns with constant climbing will take the riders past the rugged beauty of the Frank Raines Regional Park, leading to a relentless climb over the backside of Mt. Hamilton. With an elevation of 4,360 feet, Mt. Hamilton will be one of the highest elevations ever reached in the Amgen Tour of California. After the descent, the riders will head to Sierra Road, to climb the coastal mountains. Once the riders crest Sierra Road, the peloton will complete the course with a quick 18-mile run into the finish line in San Jose.

Stage 4: Seaside to San Luis Obispo - 135 mi./217 km
Start: 10:00 am - ETA: 3:25 - 4:25 pm

Stage 4 Map Pdf
Thursday, February 21, 2008: Stage 4 is a favorite for riders and spectators alike following the Pacific Ocean south through some of the most striking scenery of California. Beginning in Seaside with a short neutral lap and the stage follows a similar route to previous years, the peloton will head south on scenic Highway 1 where sweeping vistas of Big Sur and Redwood forests flank the Pacific Ocean; although the riders will have little time to focus on the beauty surrounding them on this Queen Stage of the 2008 edition. The stage will be an opportunity for the long break for those brave enough to make the effort and pick up the climbing points. If the race plays out like earlier editions the sprinters teams will be working in the closing 35 kms to blunt the breaks efforts to arrive alone in San Luis Obispo. Expect late attacks on the climb of the coastal mountain range on the way to finish by the leaders.

2007 Stage 4: Victory Paolo Bettini!!           Photo by Greg Parks Photo/Design

At 135 miles and with three climbs with points up for grabs for the King of the Mountains jersey. This year the stage sponsored by Olevia, has proven to be a test for the riders with consistently hilly and technical terrain. The 5 to six hour race will turn inland after passing the Moro Bay and Hearst Castle before shifting inland to cross the coastal mountains on their way to finish line at the intersection of Osos St. and Monterey St. in San Luis Obispo.

Stage 5: Solvang - Individual Time Trial - 15 mi./24 km
Start: 12:00 noon - ETA: 2:50 pm

Stage 5 Map Pdf.
Friday, February 22, 2008:  The tour returns to the quaint Danish village of Solvang the site of many pro teams Spring camps. At only 15 miles, slightly longer than the 2007 individual time trial and with the start and finish lines located only one block apart, Stage 5, sponsored by ADT Security Services, is an ideal location for spectators to view the race. The route will highlight some of the most beautiful areas of Central California, winding through quaint towns, vineyards, farms, and one short, but steep, climb up Ballard Canyon.

2007 Jason McCartney a stunning performance for 3rd summits on Ballard Canyon will ride for CSC in 2008. Photo c. Mark Adkison Ph.D.

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. The course may be the race leaders opportunity to make a move up the G.C. with 2 stages left the day will force a selection among the top positions. At the end of the day the riders will make a transition to the coast and Santa Barbara for the start of stage 6.

Stage 6: Santa Barbara to Santa Clarita - 109 mi./175 km
Start: 11:00 am - ETA: 3:00 - 3:45 pm

Stage 6 Map Pdf.
Saturday, February 23, 2008: Stage 6 could be a pivotal stage for the selection of the G.C. with 105 miles, and four climbs with points available for the climbers; three intermediate sprints and a technical finishing circuit in Santa Clarita. After the Solvang time trial, the favorites will be sorted out with another opportunity to attack and move up the G.C. as the penultimate stage plays out.

After a start in view of the Santa Barbara shoreline, this stage, sponsored by Health Net, will take the peloton east and inland on Highway 192 over the coastal mountains and back to the coast to Carpenteria. The route moves inland again on Highway 150 once again over the coastal range where they have two climbs with climbing points. Continuing inland past Lake Casitas the riders arrive at the third climb outside of Ojai where the course turns south through Santa Paula.

The ominous Balcom Canyon will be the final climb of the day, where in 2007 nearly 25,000 fans formed a narrow corridor for the riders. The cyclists will end the day with three circuits in Santa Clarita that finish at McBean Parkway at the Valencia Town Center. This course could favor a strong group of climbers that chance getting a large gap early on and disappointing the peloton in making good their escape and evading capture. The leaders will at this point be watching each other saving their energies; so the right mix of riders who pose no G.C. threat can go for the glory of a stage win. Heat and winds could be a factor in this days stage if the Santana winds coming east from the desert kick in during this and the final stage. .

Stage 7: Santa Clarita to Pasadena - 93 mi./150 km
Start time to be determined.

Stage 7 Map Pdf.
Sunday, February 24, 2008: By configuring the final stage of the 2008 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.

The first 25 miles of Stage 7, sponsored by Amgen, include a gradual climb from Santa Clarita to the intersection of Angeles Forest Road. Southern Californians will recognize the canyons included from races and training rides: Bouquet and Vasquez canyon are the first humps to cross. Following these climbs through the desert terrain is Soledad canyon and the descent to the flats of Acton. The race takes a turn south up the brutal climb of Aliso Canyon to the Angeles Forest a route once used during the 1960's for the California Road Championships where California cycling legends Bob Tetzlaff, Dave Sharp, Wes Chowen and Stan Ferris split the field in a day long battle fest in over 100 degree temps on the valley floor in Acton.

The final climb over the Angeles Forest Highway up towering Millcreek Summit (4,906 feet) will be no less a battle for the favorites to contest the leaders jersey and for the classic climbers to battle for the final mountain crown and winner of the 2008 tour. Descending with an eight-mile run on Angeles Crest Highway, the route begins a fast plunge to the Rose Bowl in Pasadena. The stage should shatter the peloton with attacks on the climbs with good chances for a break to use the final climb and descent to distance themselves from the peloton, to the finish and the win.

After more than 60 miles from Santa Clarita to Pasadena, with the mountains and the Rose Bowl serving as the backdrop, the peloton will complete the stage and race, with six five-mile circuits on a very demanding circuit around the Rose Bowl. Organizers expect a hard sprint to the finish for the honor of winning the final stage of the 2008 Amgen Tour of California.

Additional resources such as log sheets, elevation profiles and recommended viewing locations will be added to the race site in the next few weeks:

2nd Amgen Tour of California - Final G.C. & Photos
2nd Amgen Tour of California - Jersey Winners & Photos
2nd Amgen Tour of California - Team G.C. Final
2006 Amgen Tour of California Official Result G.C.
2006 Amgen Tour of California Jerseys - Photos

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