Category: tour of california

Tour of California Palo Alto Prologue viewing guide

Update: I forgot to mention earlier there’s ample parking at the Stanford Shopping Center. From there it’s a quick walk to Palm Drive where you can view the end of the individual time trials.

Street parking is completely prohibited on University, Hamilton, Lytton and the cross streets between those three avenues along the race route in Palo Alto. The parking garages will also be closed on race day, so a lot of your parking options are not available. Plan on taking transit then walking or biking to the venue.

I also mentioned watching the race from the Caltrain platform above University Avenue. That section of the platform is closed off due to construction.

The Amgen Tour of California kicks off on Sunday with the individual time trial prologue through downtown Palo Alto and into Stanford University. Each cyclist rides individually, competing against the clock as he zips from Palo Alto city hall up Hamilton Avenue, around to University Avenue through Palo Alto’s downtown area, across El Camino Real to Palm Drive and around the Stanford Oval.

Streets will be closed early for the event and parking in Palo Alto is limited so arrive early. Caltrain Palo Alto is directly adjacent to the race route; University Avenue passes directly beneath the train platform. VTA bus routes 22 and 522 stop in Palo Alto near El Camino Real and University. VTA 35 and 88 from Mountain View also serve downtown Palo Alto. For those coming from San Mateo County, SamTrans 280, 281, 297, 390, and 397 all stop at the Palo Alto Transit Center adjacent to the Caltrain station. (I’m not too familiar with SamTrans so check their schedules to ensure Sunday service).

If you drive, arrive early enough to find a parking spot. Parallel parking is permitted along stretches of El Camino Real south of University. Small surface lots are also scattered around the Palo Alto central business district. The streets will be closed hours before the actual race so arrive early and don’t expect to park in the spaces along University and Hamilton. Lytton Avenue will also be closed.

Once you arrive, you can view the time trial from the sidewalks along the entire race route. University Avenue is lined with restaurants with outdoor seating. City Hall has a large plaza that can accomodate a few hundred people. Palm Drive also has plenty of room for spectators to view the race.

ATOC anti doping strategy

Joe Lindsey writes about the Amgen Tour of California doping protocol in a guest post over at Freakanomics. In case you missed the news, all cyclists will have blood drawn and tested prior to the race. 30% of riders will also provide urine samples. Lindsey compares that to Team Slipstream’s anti doping strategy — each rider on that team is tested pre-race, and anyone who shows signs of potential doping is just benched for that race. If he fails too many tests, he’s fired.

It occurs to me that Slipstream’s procedure could reveal whether “false positives” are actually a problem or not, especially if Slipstream’s tests are well documented and audited correctly. If a Slipstream cyclist ever tests positive and Slipstream’s paperwork is all in order I foresee a lot of “I told you so!” from the Trust But Verify crowd.

2008 Amgen Tour of California teams

17 professional cycling teams will compete in the 2008 Amgen Tour of California, including Pro Tour teams and several top USA domestic teams to make this a world class bicycle race for an American audience.

Split between teams who compete on the UCI Pro Tour and those who race predominately in the United States, the field of 136 athletes will be one of the most diverse, accomplished groups of cyclists ever assembled for a stage race in the U.S.

“Even though the new Astana Cycling Team is making its U.S. racing debut, we are bringing numerous riders who have found success on U.S. soil in the past,” said Philippe Maertens, spokesman for the Astana Cycling Team. “The riders are excited to begin the season in California and are motivated to help Levi Leipheimer defend his Amgen Tour of California title.”

Along with Pro Tour teams, the growing class of top domestic teams will be represented by return competitors Health Net Pro Cycling Team Presented by Maxxis, Toyota-United Pro Cycling Team, Jelly Belly Cycling Team and Bissell Pro Cycling Team, and new competitors Rock Racing and Kelly Benefit Strategies/Medifast.

“The Jelly Belly Cycling Team is very excited about being selected by the Amgen Tour of California to participate in this year’s event,” said Danny Van Haute, manager of the Jelly Belly Cycling Team. “This will be Jelly Belly’s ninth season in the cycling community. The team is looking forward to the competition.”

Several of the 17 professional cycling teams will hold their pre-season training camps in California, which will give residents throughout the state an opportunity to watch these elite athletes prepare for the top professional cycling race in the United States.

The teams are:

· Astana (LUX)

· Bissell Pro Cycling Team (USA)

· BMC Racing Team (USA)

· Bouygues Telecom (FRA)

· Crédit Agricole (FRA)

· Gerolsteiner (GER)

· Health Net Presented by Maxxis (USA)

· High Road Sports (GER)

· Jelly Belly Cycling Team (USA)

· Kelly Benefit Strategies/Medifast (USA)

· Quick Step (BEL)

· Rabobank Cycling Team (Netherlands)

· Rock Racing (USA)

· Saunier Duval-Scott (ESP)

· Team CSC (DEN)

· Team Slipstream Powered by Chipotle (USA)

· Toyota-United Pro Cycling Team (USA)

Team BMC dinner

While I was getting stuck in the mud on the newly opened section of the Guadulupe River Trail in San Jose, my buddy Ken made it to the Team BMC dinner at Hobees in Palo Alto tonight. He took some photos and got their top secret training plans for the Tour of California.

According to Ken, you can find them cycling up Mount Hamilton on Friday afternoon, and scoping out the first stage route from Sausalito to Santa Rosa on Monday. Read Ken’s blog for details.

Those are BMC Team cyclists Jackson Stewart (by the window), Mike Sayers and Taylor Tolleson in the photo above. Photo courtesy Ken Conley.

Tour of California team at Palo Alto restaurant TONIGHT

Sorry about this late news but I just received it.

TONIGHT, Wednesday January 9, Hobee¹s Restaurant in Palo Alto will host the entire BMC Cycling Team for dinner at 6pm at the Town and Country Village location – 855 El Camino Real, 327-4111. The team will be available to speak with people and sign autographs. The BMC Racing Team is a mixture of neo pros and riders with professional experience. Lead by American veteran Scott Moninger, the most successful active racer in the U.S. to date, and Swiss rider Alexander Moos, the team is likely to make a noticeable first impression on the domestic Pro Peleton.

Watch Ken’s Spare Cycles blog for photos of Team BMC in Palo Alto tonight.

Tour of California 2008 route announced

The routes for the prologue and seven stages of the 2008 Amgen Tour of California were revealed today in a series of press conferences in the tour cities.

The Tour Prologue in Palo Alto, California features a short and very fast individual time trial race that begins at city hall, loops through the busy downtown and into the Stanford Oval.

Yoriko Kishimoto Palo Alto Mayor Yoriko Kishimoto talks about the benefits the 2008 Tour of California for the city. Photo by me.

At the press conference in Palo Alto, local organizers touted the economic benefits that the Tour of California will bring to the area. They also hope to leverage local interest in this international cycling event to promote cycling for transportation and bike safety for cyclists and motorists. Local cyclist MaryAnn Levenson, for example, will work with schools to tie in the Tour of California with bike promotion and bike safety events. Silicon Valley Bicycle Coalition Executive Director Corinne Winter will organize a bike-themed art competition in conjunction with the Tour of California. Palo Alto Mayor Yoriki Kishimoto hopes that excitement around the race will encourage more people to consider cycling as transportation in Palo Alto.

The stage details of the eight day race are:

  • Prologue: Palo Alto-Stanford University (Sunday, February 17, 2008)
  • Stage 1: Sausalito to Santa Rosa (Monday, February 18, 2008)
  • Stage 2: Santa Rosa to Sacramento (Tuesday, February 19, 2008)
  • Stage 3: Modesto to San Jose (Wednesday, February 20, 2008)
  • Stage 4: Seaside to San Luis Obispo (Thursday, February 21, 2008)
  • Stage 5: Solvang Individual Time Trial (Friday, February 22, 2008)
  • Stage 6: Santa Barbara to Santa Clarita (Saturday, February 23, 2008)
  • Stage 7: Santa Clarita to Pasadena (Sunday, February 24, 2008)

For more details, visit the AMGEN Tour of California website. Cycling photographer Ken Conley was there, though he told me he probably couldn’t post his photos until somewhat later. Ken does have his thoughts on the 2008 route.