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San Francisco Grand Prix Preview: The Course
By Locutus
Date: 9/12/2002
San Francisco Grand Prix Preview: The Course
San Francisco Grand Prix
8:30 a.m. PDT, Sunday September 15th, 2002.

This weekend brings the last major race of the American cycling season, the San Francisco Grand Prix, which will be raced around an extremely demanding course that winds its way through several different parts of town. The 2001 San Francisco Grand Prix drew an estimated 300,000 fans who got to see Lance Armstrong and Viatcheslav Ekimov (US Postal) launch teammate George Hincapie after a Saturn-led breakaway of powerhouse riders. Despite the breakaway's huge lead, Hincapie was able to bridge up and launch an exciting attack to claim the final victory. The Posties will be on hand again this year to defend their title against an international field that includes the best riders in the American peloton and a few big European teams. In only its second year of existence, the SFGP has already grown to have a popularity amongst both the riders and the fans that is rivaled only by Philadelphia's USPRO Championships on the American cycling scene.

The riders and team managers that we spoke with expect this year to be a very different race. The consensus opinion is that now the riders have seen the course and will be much more careful with the breaks that they let up the road. Also, the difficulty of last year's race was seen as a bit excessive my many, including Armstrong himself, and the organizers shortened this year's race by a couple of big laps. Still, the 109 mile course will be extremely challenging and sure to provide many opportunities for attacks. The start/finish line is located on the Embarcadero at the end of Market Street. The race will begin with three 1.3 mile laps around the Embarcadero that are pretty flat. After these somewhat ceremonial laps, the race will then head out on eight big 10 mile laps of the city that wind through North Beach and along the Marina before turning up the brutal, three-block climb of Fillmore Street. This climb comes at about the halfway point in the loop, and then the riders get a break through Russian Hill before the stiff test of the Taylor Street climb. The riders then head back down to the Embarcadero to do it all over again. The race ends with five half-laps of 5 miles each that will only include the Taylor climb. But with ten climbs up Fillmore and fifteen climbs up Taylor, this is one leg-cracking course suited to power riders with climbing legs.

In the past week, the Daily Peloton has profiled many of the major teams in the race. Below is a list of the links to the teams we have profiled. Each profile includes extensive interviews with the riders and team managers. We will be sending reports from the press conference Friday in Nike Town, the San Rafael Cycling Classic on Saturday, and the big event itself on Sunday. So stay tuned for some outstanding coverage and if you're near the bay area, come out and enjoy the fun!

For the official race map (in PDF format), click here.

Daily Peloton team profiles for the SFGP

SFGP Live Audio All Weekend - starting Friday morning with interviews. Live audio of the SFGP begins at 8am Pacific Daylight Time on Sunday 14th September! Listen Now! (You'll need either the Winamp or Real Player.)

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