Highway 1 landslide forces route change for Stage 5, which begins in Seaside, passes through Fort Ord and Laguna Seca to Carmel Valley, Greenfield, King City, past Lake Nacimiento to Paso Robles.
Due to closure of segments of California Highway 1, the route for May 19th’s Stage 5 of the 2011 Amgen Tour of California will be modified. Four recent rock and mudslides along Highway 1 have closed the coastal road, necessitating an inland route between Seaside and Paso Robles. The sixth-annual Amgen Tour of California, which will feature a world-class field of competitors, will take place from May 15 – 22.
Stage 5 of the race will still start in Seaside and the peloton will head east through decommissioned Fort Ord into Mazda Raceway Laguna Seca, home of the Sea Otter Classic. A few turns will take the riders out onto Hwy 68 and the peloton will soon tackle the first of four KOMs, Laureles Grade. A fast four-mile descent will bring the race into the quaint village of Carmel Valley and the first of two Sprints for the stage.
Dotted with wineries and horse farms, the landscapes and vistas are of an undiscovered California, making it one of the most beautiful stages in the history of the Amgen Tour of California. This narrow, twisty road keeps climbing, and within 45 minutes the race will have scaled two more KOMs. It is then a long descent along the Carmel Valley River.
As the peloton rolls towards the second Sprint in the rural town of Greenfield, they will enter a well-deserved Feed Zone. Leaving Greenfield, the scenery will change as the riders enter one of the most fertile agricultural valleys in California. Here, the land is flat and the growing season is well underway. Fields of grapes give way to lettuce and strawberries. As the race passes through the towns of King City and San Lucas, the riders will head west to more rolling hills.
With more than 30 miles to Paso Robles, the riders will rarely see a flat section of road again. Splitting Lake Nacimiento and Lake San Antonio, the climbers will contest the fourth and final KOM of the stage. The final push into Paso Robles rolls past some of the best wineries in the state.
At the end of the day, the racers will have spent more than 6.5 hours on the bike as they cover 135 miles and nearly 10,000’ of climbing.
“After working closely with Caltrans and assessing our options, we have determined that it is necessary to re-route Stage 5 of the 2011 Amgen Tour of California,” said Andrew Messick, president of AEG Sports. “We appreciate the hard work of all involved, including Caltrans and our Stage 5 start and finish Host Cities, to make this route change a seamless one. We are looking forward to showcasing a portion of California that the race has never visited, and a stage that will feature challenging terrain and a remarkable day of racing.”