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Friday, January 23, 2009
  Rapha Continental tour of California
By Alison Chaiken 
Rapha, the British manufacturer of especially stylish cycling clothing, sponsors a Continental team that runs promotional rides in the U.S. Last August I had the opportunity to ride with the Continentals on the Page Mill-Pescadero-Tunitas loop and to watch the epic film Road to Roubaix afterwards at Palo Alto Bicycles. (The "chatty woman" is me -- hard for those who know me, to believe, I'm sure.)

Now the Rapha team is pre-riding the stages of the Tour of California. Reports will be published in Bicycling magazine, but you can get an advance peek at Velodramatic along with some of Daniel Wakefield Pasley's always stunning photographs. Single straight women will want to visit the Rapha website frequently to study the cycling techniques demonstrated by the Continental team riders.

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Thursday, December 18, 2008
  Amgen Tour of California announces first eight teams
By Yokota Fritz 
Lance Armstrong and Team Astana participation confirmed.

The 2009 Amgen Tour of California roster includes the following eight ProTour professional cycling teams: Ag2r-La Mondiale (FRA), Astana (LUX), Garmin-Slipstream (USA), Liquigas (ITA), Quick Step (BEL), Rabobank (Netherlands), Team Columbia (USA), Team Saxo Bank (DEN).

Split between teams who compete on the UCI ProTour and those who race predominately in the United States, the field of athletes competing in the 2009 Amgen tour of California will be one of the most diverse, accomplished groups of cyclists ever assembled for a stage race in the U.S. The full list of teams will be announced in January, with final rosters due in February.

“We have a great roster of top athletes, and the Amgen Tour of California delivers a great stage on which to perform,” said Bob Stapleton, owner, Team Columbia. “The Amgen Tour of California is great for the sport of cycling in the U.S. and great for the sport overall.”

Several of the ProTour 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.

Personal note: Cyclelicious has been approved for media credentials for the Amgen Tour of California, and a couple of us were talking about an AToC Norcal blogger meetup somewhere.


Thursday, December 04, 2008
  2009 Amgen Tour of California route details
By Yokota Fritz 

AEG revealed the route details for the 2009 Amgen Tour of California this morning. As was revealed in the Santa Rosa Democrat earlier this week, the race will start in Sacramento with a Prologue instead of a full blown stage as earlier planned. The stage from Davis to Santa Rosa becomes Stage 1.

Stage 2 from Sausalito to Santa Cruz begins 8:30 Monday morning, February 16, at the Spinnaker Restaurant parking lot in Sausalito. The cyclists will cross the Golden Gate Bridge and ride through San Francisco and south along the scenic Pacific Coast Highway. Local organizers and cycling enthusiasts are excited that the route includes the locally popular Tunitas Creek Road and Bonny Doon Road hill climbs. The Stage will conclude as cyclists scream through the Redwood forest along Empire Grade Road, skirting the University of California Santa Cruz Campus and finishing at Front & Cooper in Santa Cruz near the Trader Joe's store. I'll post details of this and other stages later today.

Download: Stage 2 Map, Stage 2 Elevation Profile.

Note from Fritz: Please tweet this post. Thank you!

2009 Tour of California Stage 2 San Francisco

2009 Tour of California Stage 2  San Mateo County

2009 Tour of California Stage 2 Santa Cruz County

Prologue: Sacramento (Saturday, February 14, 2009)

Start time: 1:30 p.m.
Start Location: Intersection of Capitol Mall and 9th St.
Finish Location: Intersection of L St. and 11th St.

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. With the start and finish lines separated by only two blocks, spectators will have the opportunity to easily see the racers at both the start and finish lines. Showcasing the State Capitol, the Capitol Mall area and the well-known Tower Bridge, the Prologue will provide a crowd-pleasing day of racing excitement.

Stage 1: Davis to Santa Rosa (Sunday, February 15, 2009)

Start Time: Noon
Start Location: Intersection of C St. and 3rd St. in Davis
Finish Location: Intersection of 3rd St. and Santa Rosa Ave. in Santa Rosa

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, which recently was named the best cycling town in the United States by Bicycling Magazine, 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. In previous years, Santa Rosa fans have set the mark for one of the largest and most enthusiastic crowds of the entire race.

Additionally, fans in Santa Rosa will have the opportunity to watch the second-annual Amgen Tour of California Women’s Criterium. Held in conjunction with Stage 1 of the Amgen Tour of California, the Women's Criterium will begin at 1 p.m. and will showcase some of the world's top professional women cyclists competing for $15,000 in prizes. Set as a category Pro 1/2 race, the Amgen Tour of California Women's Criterium will have a limit of eight riders per team. Once again using portions of the Stage 1 men’s finishing circuit in Santa Rosa, the Women’s Criterium will bring the thrill of professional women’s cycling to fans in the hours just before the men’s finish in downtown Santa Rosa.

Stage 2: Sausalito to Santa Cruz (Monday, February 16, 2009)

Start Time: 8:30 a.m.
Start Location: Spinnaker Restaurant at 100 Spinnaker Dr. in Sausalito
Finish Location: Intersection of Front St. and Cooper St. in Santa Cruz

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.

Stage 3: San Jose to Modesto (Tuesday, February 17, 2009)

Start Time: Noon
Start Location: Intersection of San Fernando St. and Almaden Blvd. in San Jose
Finish Location: Intersection of I St. and 12th St. in Modesto

Fans of the Amgen Tour of California may recognize part of Stage 3 from the 2008 race when the cyclists traveled from Modesto to San Jose; however, in 2009, the racers will be traveling the route in reverse with several changes. Beginning with a climb that is synonymous with cycling and the Amgen Tour of California, the cyclists will head up Sierra Road (1,930 ft.) within the first five miles of the stage. This epic climb will be a defining moment in the race and will create an action-packed day of racing for the cyclists and the fans alike. 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. The stage will finish with two circuits in downtown Modesto.

Stage 4: Merced to Clovis (Wednesday, February 18, 2009)

Start Time: 11 a.m.
Start Location: City Hall at the intersection of N St. and 18th St. in Merced
Finish Location: Intersection of Bullard Ave. and Pollasky Ave. in Clovis

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. Fans can watch the climbs, always a spectator favorite, at any of the four locations - Hwy 140, twice on Hwy 49 and Crane Valley Road. Coming to a finish in Old Town Clovis, this stage will introduce the beauty of Central California to the Amgen Tour of California.

Stage 5: Visalia to Paso Robles (Thursday, February 19, 2009)

Start Time: 10 a.m.
Start Location: Intersection of Aceqia Ave. and Church St. in Visalia
Finish Location: Intersection of Spring St. and 11th St. in Paso Robles

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, Stage 5 will begin with a neutral start of parade laps through Visalia’s downtown area. Once the race wends its way through the start in Visalia, the riders will experience an amazing contrast between the previous day of racing in the Sierra Mountains, as they 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.

Stage 6: Solvang Individual Time Trial (Friday, February 20, 2009)

Start Time: Noon
Start Location: Intersection of Mission Drive and 1st St.
Finish Location: Copenhagen Dr.

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.

Stage 7: Santa Clarita to Pasadena (Saturday, February 21, 2009)

Start Time: Noon Start Location: Town Center Drive in Santa Clarita Finish Location: West Drive, alongside the Rose Bowl in Pasadena

The race from Santa Clarita to Pasadena proved to be a difficult one during the final stage of the 2008 Amgen Tour of California, and this year will be no different. The first 25 miles of Stage 7, sponsored by Herbalife, include 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. After more than 65 miles from Santa Clarita to Pasadena, with the mountains and the Rose Bowl serving as the backdrop, 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.

Stage 8: Rancho Bernardo to Escondido (Sunday, February 22, 2009)

Start Time: Noon
Start Location: Bernardo Center Dr. in Rancho Bernardo
Finish Location: Intersection of Grand Ave. and Broadway in Escondido

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, Stage 8, sponsored by Amgen, can easily be characterized as the most difficult final stage that the Amgen Tour of California has ever seen. The cyclists will have to fight through the very end of the race, due to the addition of Palomar Mountain (5,123 ft.). At 11.7 miles, a seven percent average grade, 4,200 feet of climbing and 21 switchbacks, Palomar Mountain will provide a challenging conclusion to the 2009 Amgen Tour of California. Organizers expect a hard sprint to the finish; as with all the Grand Tours of Europe, winning the final stage of the 2009 Amgen Tour of California is a prize coveted by the riders.


Tuesday, September 23, 2008
  2009 Amgen Tour of California needs volunteers
By Yokota Fritz 
Organizers for the 2009 Amgen Tour of California need volunteers to help run the popular professional cycling road race. Volunteers looking for an opportunity to participate in the fourth-annual race can apply online for positions, including course marshal, security, media relations and medical control.

The event’s fourth running is scheduled for February 14-22, 2009. Traveling almost the entire length of California, the race will begin in the state’s capital, Sacramento, and end in San Diego County for the first time.

More than 4,500 volunteers in communities throughout the state participated in last
year’s race, making it seamless and successful from start to finish, and establishing it as the largest sporting event in the state of California. In each of the start and finish cities, as many as 350 local volunteers were recruited to help staff the race.

"Volunteers are essential to the success of the Amgen Tour of California," said Andrew Messick, president of AEG Sports, presenter of the race. "The support of the communities we travel through has been vital in making the Amgen Tour of California the most successful cycling race in the United States, and with the expanded route in 2009, volunteers will be more important than ever. It is a great way to take part in an event that will capture the attention of local communities and the world."

The majority of volunteers are needed to serve as course marshals, providing support for the 75 professional course marshals that travel with the tour and support the local law enforcement authorities in each city. Course marshal volunteers have an opportunity to be on the race route, close to the cyclists, with responsibility for monitoring pedestrian traffic, barricades and street closures.

Volunteer positions for the 2009 Amgen Tour of California include:

  • Local Stage Course Marshal – Assigned a designated area along the race course to assist with the coordination and safety of the field of play
  • Media – Assist media operations staff, including distribution of media credentials, general media Q&A, office set-up, etc.
  • Medical Control – Escort athletes to and from medical tent for post-race testing
  • Security – Assist security staff with access-control, including on-course, hospitality, awards, green room and press conference
  • Site Decoration/Restoration – Assist logistics crew with hanging and tear-down of event decor
  • Lifestyle Festival EXPO – Assist lifestyle festival staff with expo coordination
  • Sweepstakes Surveyor – Help ensure lifestyle festival attendees are aware of the official sweepstakes
  • Volunteer Check-in – Assist Local Organizing Committee volunteer coordinator with set-up, check-in/registration and deployment
Volunteers must be over the age of 18 or accompanied by an adult. The online sign-up form offers volunteers the opportunity to rank their top-three job preferences, and every attempt is made to match volunteers to their area of interest. Shortly after filling out the online form, volunteers will be contacted by the local organizing committee for further information.

Dates of the 2009 Amgen Tour of California:

  • Stage 1: Saturday, Feb. 14 – Sacramento
  • Stage 2: Sunday, Feb. 15 – Davis to Santa Rosa
  • Stage 3: Monday, Feb. 16 – Sausalito to Santa Cruz
  • Stage 4: Tuesday, Feb. 17 – San Jose to Modesto
  • Stage 5: Wednesday, Feb. 18 – Merced to Clovis
  • Stage 6: Thursday, Feb. 19 – Visalia to Paso Robles
  • Stage 7: Friday, Feb. 20 – Solvang (individual time trial)
  • Stage 8: Saturday, Feb. 21 – Santa Clarita to Pasadena
  • Stage 9: Sunday, Feb. 22 – Rancho Bernardo to Escondido

Note that Stage 3 from Sausalito to Santa Cruz is Presidents Day, a SCHOOL HOLIDAY for students. Because Lance Armstrong is expected to race next February in the Amgen Tour of California, the start and finish cities will be madhouses, so volunteering might be the best way to get up close to the cyclists. "Medical Control" is your special chance to see the athletes up close and personal.

Sign up online to be a volunteer.


Wednesday, July 23, 2008
  2009 Tour of California cities announced
By Yokota Fritz 

2009 Tour of California to cross Golden Gate Bridge

Amgen Tour of California race organizer AEG announced the 16 start and finish cities for the 2009 edition of the Tour of California today.

Eight new locations have been added to the list of host cities. The new cities -- Davis, Santa Cruz, Merced, Clovis, Visalia, Paso Robles, Rancho Bernardo and Escondido -- join Sacramento, Santa Rosa, Sausalito, San Jose, Modesto, Solvang, Santa Clarita and Pasadena as host cities along the route.

“Each year, we strive to make the Amgen Tour of California better,” said Andrew Messick, president of AEG Sports, presenter of the race. “And after getting input from riders and fans last year, we decided to expand the race to better showcase the great state of California. We are delighted to have such a great overall mix of cities partnering with us for the 2009 Amgen Tour of California and are pleased to include the eight new stops, along with so many of our old friends.”

“This year is a year of exciting firsts for us,” Messick continued. “For the first time, the Amgen Tour of California will take place over nine days, we will make our first visit to the western slopes of the Sierra Nevada and visit San Diego County for what promises to be another exciting conclusion to the race.”

Beginning with a road stage (a first for the race), which both starts and ends in Sacramento, through the grand finale in Escondido, the 2009 race will visit 16 host cities for official stage starts and finishes, while other cities along the route also will have the opportunity to witness the excitement of elite professional cycling. Stages for the 2009 Amgen Tour of California include:

* Stage 1: Saturday, Feb. 14 – Sacramento
* Stage 2: Sunday, Feb. 15 – Davis to Santa Rosa
* Stage 3: Monday, Feb. 16 – Sausalito to Santa Cruz via the Golden Gate Bridge
* Stage 4: Tuesday, Feb. 17 – San Jose to Modesto
* Stage 5: Wednesday, Feb. 18 – Merced to Clovis
* Stage 6: Thursday, Feb. 19 – Visalia to Paso Robles
* Stage 7: Friday, Feb. 20 – Solvang (individual time trial)
* Stage 8: Saturday, Feb. 21 – Santa Clarita to Pasadena
* Stage 9: Sunday, Feb. 22 – Rancho Bernardo to Escondido


Tuesday, June 17, 2008
  Tour of California through the Santa Cruz Mountains?
By Yokota Fritz 
Ken scooped me on this: Palo Alto is angling to host a stage finish of the 2009 Tour of California. A proposed stage would start "north of San Francisco" (in Marin County, probably?), wind across San Francisco into the coast range then drop out of the Santa Cruz Mountains into downtown Palo Alto. Just for the fun of it I think it would be hilarious if organizers routed the Tour of California through Woodside, California.

Below is the Boonen commercial Ken mentioned. I'm not familiar with the Bettini one. Makes me want to hop on the bike! The Santa Cruz mountains is where I live and where I ride.

Speaking of the Santa Cruz Mountains, here's a photo of me from last Saturday looking like a total dork in Henry Cowell Redwoods State Park.


Sunday, February 24, 2008
  2008 Tour of California Stage 7: Bad weather, great racing
By Yokota Fritz 
Another nasty day of cold rain punished the peloton as they rode from Santa Clarita to Pasadena in Stage 7 today in the 2008 Amgen Tour of California. In the end, a five man breakaway battled it out in the final kilometer, with George Hincapie winning Team High Road's first stage win in this final stage. Rory Sutherland (Health Net), Jason Mccartney (CSC), Michael Creed (Rock Racing) and Tom Zirbel (Bissell) all followed Hincapie across the finish line, with Cavendish leading the field across about 10 seconds later.

Astana demonstrated incredibly tight teamwork to protect their team captain and helping him win the Yellow Jersey for this year's tour.

The 2008 Tour is one for the history books, with a virus, rain and cold plaguing the riders and staff for the entire week. I hope you had a chance to watch online via the Tour Tracker or to catch the highlights on Versus TV. You can find links to archived video for all of the stages at Steephill.TV. Click through to The FredCast for podcasts highlighting each stage of the tour and interviews. For Tour of California photography, visit KWC's Spare Cycles 2008 Tour of California gallery.

Thanks for following the action on Cyclelicious!


Saturday, February 23, 2008
  Team High Road Stage win, NOT! 2008 Tour of California Stage 6 report
By Yokota Fritz 
What an incredible sprint finish! As the 6th stage of the Amgen Tour of California wound down in Santa Clarita, several cyclists went on the attack. David Millar (Slipstream Chipotle) bridged up from the peloton to the break when Team Astana took notice and attacked to catch the breakaway and prevent #2 Millar from taking the yellow jersey from Levi Leipheimer. After the pack caught up and passed the breakaway it was every man for himself as the cyclists fought for a place at the podium.

In the end, Mark Cavendish pushed his way to the front to get High Road's first stage win at the 2008 Tour of California. It looks like Luciano Pagliarini (Saunier Duval) has second and JJ Haedo (CSC) has third place. Levi Leipheimer still holds the yellow jersey as he goes into the final stage tomorrow that starts in Santa Clarita.

Update: As BGW notes in his comments, Cavendish was penalized for drafting a team car in the aftermath of a crash that took out four Rock Racing cyclists. The podium first place went to Brazilian sprinter Luciano Pagliarini (Saunier Duval), with JJ Haedo now in 2nd and Paolo Bettini (Quick Step) in third.

More 2008 Tour of California Stage 6 commentary


Friday, February 22, 2008
  2008 Tour of California Solvang report
By Yokota Fritz 
Levi Leipheimer in Solvang - (c) Ken Conley

Levi Leipheimer in Solvang - Photo courtesy Ken Conley
The weather for Stage 5 in the Amgen Tour of California was a big improvement over yesterday, with partly cloudy skies and temperatures in the high 50s. Some of the cyclists encountered light sprinkles of rain, and the wet roads -- including a flooded section -- added to the challenge of taking some of the turns, and many of the riders struggled with the strong crosswinds.

Amgen Tour of California Solvang Time Trial Let Levi Ride Levi Leipheimer (Astana) came in strong in the individual time trial today, coming in 29 seconds ahead of sprinting champion David Millar (Slipstream Chipotle) and extending his overall GC lead. Slipstream's Christian Vandevelde rounded out the podium at 31:31. Two other possible contenders for the yellow jersey, Fabian Cancellara (CSC) and David Zabriskie (Slipstream) came in fifth and sixth today on the Solvang time trial.

In spite of yesterday's brutal weather and less than ideal conditions today, Levi did fairly well coming in at 30.47, just over a minute over his time last year.

2008 Tour of California Stage 5 reports

VeloNews: Leipheimer comes through.

Road Bike Review: Tour of California page.

Stage 5 full results at

Steephill.TV summary, commentary and links.

KWC looks like he got his camera working: Levi wins in Solvang again.

David also got a Stage 4 report out for the FredCast while recovering from surgery!
My wife knows some of Jackson Stewart's family. Stewart is on the mend but they have requested prayer for him. As you know, Jackson Stewart was hospitalized yesterday for hypothermia during the cold and wet race down the Central Coast in Stage 4.

The Tour of California starts in Santa Barbara on Saturday and will travel to Santa Barbara for Stage 6.

Photo: Fans show their support for Levi Leipheimer in Solvang. Photo from Amgen Tour of California.


Thursday, February 21, 2008
  Tour of California Stage 4 results: Seaside to SLO
By Yokota Fritz 

The Seaside to SLO leg follows the scenic California Central Coast, but the riders in stage 4 of the 2008 Amgen Tour of California enjoyed none of the views as they slogged through dreary, cold rain and constant headwinds, keeping the pace under 20 mph for much of today's long stage. The racers finally finished after over seven hours on the road, well after the anticipated 4 p.m. finish time.
ATOC Stage 4 - miserable weather

2008 Amgen Tour of California Stage 4 Podium - (c) Ken Conley
A break that eventually consisted of Edward King (Bissell), Roman Kilun (Health Net p/b Maxxis), Dominique Rollin (Toyota - United), Danilo Wyss (BMC Racing Team), Bauke Mollema (Rabobank), George Hincapie (High Road) and Iker Camano Ortuzar (Saunier Duval-Scott) moved ahead of the peloton. Rollins attacked beginning about 45 minutes from the end, pulling away from the breakaway as Hincapie and Camano work to reel him in. Rollins, a continental team rider, managed to hold off two seasoned Euro pros and took the stage win today has he went solo across the finish line 18 seconds ahead of Hincapie and Camano.

Team High Road got three of the top five spots as Gerald Ciolek and Mark Cavendish came in fourth and fifth place. I'm certain the cyclists are glad today's stage is over.

More Stage 4 commentary

KWC: Miserable day for all, Rollin gets revenge on Hincapie. Dominique Rollins wins Stage 4; Hypothermic: Jackson Stewart abandons, rushed to hospital; War of attrition,

Steephill.TV Stage 4 summary and collection of links to video and other resources.

It was painful watching today's stage -- I could almost feel the discomfort as they rode through the miserable rain and their soggy kit clinged to their arms. The stomach bug that took Tyler Farrar out yesterday apparently hit several other riders, mechanics and support staff, making the long ride even longer and more miserable for them. Several cyclists dropped out.

Levi retains the yellow jersey going into Stage 5 on Friday. His team protected his yellow jersey and apparently held back just a little when they didn't attack the breakaway and finishing over 2 minutes behind the leaders, probably to save their legs for the 15 mile individual time trial in Solvang. Still, Thursday was brutal for all of the cyclists and Friday is supposed to be another windy day so Stage 5 should be interesting to see.

I'll grab some quotes from the riders and update this post later tonight. I'm sure there will be some good ones so check back here at Cyclelicious for the updates.

2008 Tour of California Stage 4 Results

Stage 4 top 10 winners

1. ROLLIN Dominique - Toyota United
2. HINCAPIE George - High Road
3. CAMANO ORTUZAR Iker - Saunier Duval
4. CIOLEK Gerald* - High Road
5. CAVENDISH Mark* - High Road
6. HAEDO Juan Jose - CSC
7. RODRIGUEZ Freddie - Rock Racing
8. CANDELARIO Alexander - Kelly Benefit - Medifast
9. TURGOT Sébastien - Bouygues Telecom
10. CIPOLLINI Mario - Rock Racing

General Classification top 10 after Stage 4

1. LEIPHEIMER Levi - Astana
3. GESINK Robert* - Rabobank
4. MILLAR David - Slipstream Chipotle
5. LARSSON Gustav - CSC
6. ZABRISKIE David - Slipstream Chipotle
7. VANDEVELDE Christian Slipstream Chipotle
8. HORNER Christopher - Astana
9. MOOS Alexandre - BMC
10. PENA GRISALES Victor Hugo - Rock Racing

Photo Credits: Dominique Rollin Win by Ken Conley; Wet Astana Peloton captured from Amgen Tour of California Adobe Tour Tracker video stream; Rollin Podium my Ken Conley.


Wednesday, February 20, 2008
  2008 Tour of California Stage 3 results
By Yokota Fritz 

Young rider Gesink takes the stage; Leipheimer in Yellow Jersey
Yellow Jersey Farrar falls ill, abandons race

It was an exciting race today, especially the final 20 miles of today's stage as Levi Leipheimer (Astana) and Robert Gesink (Rabobank) worked in a two man breakaway as a chase group led by Team CSC's David Zabriskie Fabian Cancellara fought to catch up to keep the yellow jersey away from Leipheimer.

Leipheimer and Gesink worked together all the way down hill from Sierra Road, taking turns pulling to hold off the attacking chase group. As Leipheimer and Gesink rode together into downtown San Jose, Gesink pulled ahead in the end for a stage win, with Leipheimer right on his wheel. Leipheimer came in 30 seconds ahead of the chase group, more than making up his 7 second deficit in the GC rankings so he will don the Yellow Jersey tomorrow in Seaside, California.

The 21 year old Gesink proved himself to be a strong climber today. He turned pro just last year and he was obviously elated to win today's stage. The average speed of Gesink and Leipheimer over the 102 mile stage was an amazing 23 mph as they crossed several peaks, including the hors catégorie ("beyond classification") Mount Hamilton.

Tyler Farrar started Stage 3 wearing the Yellow Jersey but had to drop out about halfway through the race. He reportedly suffered from food poisoning last night and reportedly spent much of his night in the restroom. Five other cyclists have also dropped out this week from a stomach bug that's going around.

Mario Cipollini finished 63rd today, coming in 25 minutes after the winners and just ahead of the cutoff time that would have kept him from competing for the rest of the Tour of California.

There were concerns about the weather, but the skies cleared up as the cyclists approached from Modesto. The top of Mount Hamilton was chilly but dry as the peloton passed by the Mount Hamilton observatory.

Stage 3 results
1. Robert Gesink (Ned) Rabobank
2. Levi Leipheimer (USA) Astana
3. Jurgen Vandewalle (Bel) Quick Step
4. Kevin Seeldraeyers (Bel) Quick Step
5. Mauricio Alberto Ardila Cano (Col) Rabobank
6. Tom Peterson (USA) Slipstream Chipotle H30
7. Chris Horner (USA) Astana
8. Mauricio Alberto Ardila Cano (Col) Rabobank
9. Alexandre Moos (Swi) BMC Racing Team
10. Victor Hugo Pena (Col) Rock Racing
Ken Conley caught some photos on Mount Hamilton. When I talked to him last he was racing downtown to the finish line. Visit for his Stage 3 photos later today.

Go to Amgen Tour of California 2008 for official results. David B has his computer back up and running so he'll have his FredCast report on today's stage up also at a reasonable time. Steven probably already has a list of links out at Steephill.TV already. has some interesting background information from today's stage.

Photo: Gesink on Sierra Road in 2007; by Ken Conley.


  2008 Specialized Angel
By Yokota Fritz 
The new Specialized Angel made her debut appearance during the 2008 Amgen Tour of California. Please feel free to comment.

Specialized Angel - (c) Ken Conley
Photo by Ken Conley

Here are some more photos of the Specialized Angel -- click on the image to view large. If you like this post, please share it using one of the buttons below (Digg, Stumbleupon, Facebook,, CycleCluster, email).

Specialized Angel - (c) Ken Conley 2008 Specialized Angel

A big thank you to Ken Conley for sharing his Tour of California photos. He'll be up on Mount Hamilton for today's Stage 3. It's cold and rainy in the South Bay right now. While race officials have an alternate route ready, weather forecasters don't expect snow or ice today. The inclement weather also hasn't stopped many fans who are already lining up on Sierra Road to watch the cyclist zoom into San Jose this afternoon.

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Tuesday, February 19, 2008
  Scott Nydam
By Yokota Fritz 
So who in the world is Scott Nydam? This 30 year old cyclist for Team BMC took the limelight for much of Stage 2 when he held the lead for almost the entire race. Nydam broke away from the field and rode solo after only 10 miles, gaining a lead that grew to as much as 15 minutes. Nydam, who calls Santa Rosa home, clearly delighted the crowds with his performance. Since these hills above Santa Rosa are his stomping grounds, he knew the route to Sacramento like the back of his hand, confidently taking the hairpin turns on the descent in spite of the wet, slick roads that took down one of the photo motorcycles on Tuesday.

Scott Nydam was visibly exhausted by the time he reached the college town of Davis, and the peloton managed to reel him in just 15 miles from the finish.

Scott has a wonderful blog where he writes about his challenges, his training, and his father's cancer.

Nydam was awarded the "Most Agressive Rider" jersey during the podium ceremony in Sacramento on Tuesday.


  Tour of California Stage 2 results
By Yokota Fritz 
It's a rainy and cold day in northern California for the 3rd Stage from Santa Rosa to Sacramento. In spite of the wet conditions, there were good crowds in Santa Rosa, along the mountain roads, the bike friendly college town of Davis and at the finish line in Sacramento. Scott Nydam (BMC) broke away and held the lead for much of the race through the hills which he held until after the peloton passed through the town of Davis.

Trinity Grade - (c) Ken Conley
Trinity Grade.

The final laps were fast and furious and rain slick streets. JJ Haedo was in 6th place when he flatted. He grabbed a team mate's bike quick as a flash but used up all of his reserves just to catch up to the pack. Haedo managed to get back up near the lead in the final laps.

Team High Road owned the final laps when Cavendish broke free in the last kilometer and pulled off a yards long lead. It was elbow to elbow for Boonen, Cipo, Gerolsteiner's Hostler as they worked to catch up, with Tom Boonen (Quick Step) dashing across the finish line for the win, Gerolsteiner's Heinrich Haussler coming in second and Rock Racing's Mario Cipollini showing he still got the mojo with his 3rd place finish.

Watch KWC for finish line photos from Sacramento; Steephill.TV for the collection of links to Stage 2 news, photos and video; and The FredCast.

Mario Cipollini - (c) Ken Conley
Governor Schwarzenegger on the podium with Mario Cipollini.

Tomorrow will be another wet day, with snow even possible on the summit of Mount Hamilton. The crowds will be thick on Sierra Road coming into San Jose so it should be another exciting day in the Tour of California.

All photos are Copyright by Ken Conley. Click on the photos for more information and other viewing options.


  Tour of California tour tracker
By Yokota Fritz 
I've been at the races the past two days so I haven't had a chance to check it out, but the tour tracker is amazing!

Amgen Tour of California tour tracker

GPS trackers show the locations, and a constant live video feed with commentary follows the action for the entire length of the race. Wonderful!! Audio commentary is from Frankie Andreu and Joe Silva, with Rick Scott updating the text information.


Monday, February 18, 2008
  Amgen Tour of California: JJ Haedo takes Stage 1
By Yokota Fritz 

Hometown hero Levi Leipheimer welcomed by record crowds
Tibco's Brooke Miller wins first Tour of California Women's Criterium

Let's hear it Sausalito LOUDER
   Record crowds were on-hand for Stage 1 of the Amgen Tour of California to watch the world’s best cyclists travel over some of California’s most scenic highways, from Sausalito to Santa Rosa, culminating with a climactic finish in downtown Santa Rosa as Juan Jose “J.J.” Haedo (ARG), of Team CSC, sprinted to an impressive win, his fifth stage win in the Amgen Tour of California (2006-2008), ahead of Gerald Ciolek (GER), of High Road, and Heinrich Haussler (GER) of Gerolsteiner.

“The final 60km (40 miles) of the race were very fast; I barely made it to the finish. That was a really hard part for me,” said Haedo, Stage 1 winner. “Everyone was really fast today, but when you see the last 200 meters, you go as hard as you can and don’t look back. We have a lot of good sprinters in the Amgen Tour of California, really a good level of competition.”

Jelly Belly and kids
Haedo’s teammate Fabian Cancellara (SUI), the overall race leader after yesterday’s Prologue, retained the Amgen Leader's Jersey after an exciting day of racing.

The 98.6-mile stage from Sausalito to Santa Rosa took the scenic coastal route along Highway 1 before turning inland for a difficult ascent up the 827-ft. Coleman Valley Road climb, 64 miles into the race. After about 10 miles, Jackson Stewart (USA) of Team BMC, who lives in nearby Los Gatos, Calif., found himself in a solo lead after attempting a breakaway move with three other riders.

“Suddenly I was a minute ahead of the field and I thought I’ll just keep it going and try for the KOM (California Travel and Tourism King of the Mountains classification points),” said Stewart.

Stage 1 around the web

Ken Conley: JJ Wins, More photos. Hincapie crash exclusive photos, Haedo wins, "Editor" snagged a ride on the media car and writes about the great view.

FredCast: Interviews with Ivan Dominguez, Bob Stapleton, Tom Ritchey, Ken Conley and Tyler Hamilton. I haven't had a chance to listen to this podcast yet but it should be a good one.

Steephill.TV: The usual great collection of links from various resources.

The photos on this page are by me. See more photos from the 2008 Tour of California at this Flickr AToC pool.
Stewart achieved this goal by remaining clear of the field over the summit of Coleman Valley Road, where he backed off as the field raced up to reabsorb him about 20 miles before the Santa Rosa finish. Stewart also claimed the three intermediate Herbalife sprint prizes, at Point Reyes Station, Tomales and Bodega Bay.

With 40 miles covered, Stewart’s lead over the peloton had grown to as much as 13 minutes, but as the field approached the steep Coleman Valley climb, with gradients up to 15 percent, the pace intensified and Stewart started to come back.

The peloton fragmented as it powered up Coleman Valley Road, and Jens Voigt (GER) of Team CSC showed strong form by following Kevin Seeldraeyers (BEL) of Saunier Duval – Scott over the top, second in the peloton.

In the undulations following the summit, more attacks came and the group broke up into three, with 80 riders in the first group, 11 in the second and 33 in the third.

The tight Santa Rosa finishing circuits have gained a reputation in the short history of the Amgen Tour of California for producing thrilling action in front of a vast, roaring crowd. This year was no exception as the riders sped around the closing laps. QuickStep lined up its two World Champions, Tom Boonen (BEL) and Paolo Bettini (ITA), for the sprint, as did the formidable Team CSC and Slipstream Chipotle Presented by H30.

George Hincapie
George Hincapie (USA) of High Road also found himself in a good position for the sprint. Going around the final corner, with only a few hundred yards remaining, Hincapie touched wheels with Tom Boonen and crashed heavily, but made it to the finish in 74th place, despite being grazed from head to toe. High Road reported that he had no broken bones and is expected to start tomorrow.

“So far, the race has been fantastic; exceeding expectations,” said Andrew Messick, president of AEG Sports, presenter of the race. “We’ve been doing this for three years now and it keeps getting better. I think we’re getting to the point where we are one of the most important races on the calendar. We want to continue to grow bigger. We want to be one of the races that people plan their calendars around.”

Showing an impressive performance on Stage 1, the California Travel & Tourism Commission King of the Mountain (KOM) Jersey and the Tachyon Most Aggressive Jersey were both claimed by Jackson Stewart (USA) of Team BMC. And the Herbalife Sprint Jersey went to Haedo (ARG) of Team CSC. Gerald Ciolek (GER) of High Road took the Union Bank of California Best Young Rider Jersey. Team CSC, winner of the 2006 and 2007 overall team classification, leads the overall team classification.

20080218 056
The top-three general classification leaders after today are Cancellara (SUI) of Team CSC, Team Slipstream Chipotle Powered by H30’s Tyler Farrar (USA) in second and High Road’s Bradley Wiggins (GBR) in third.

Defending champion, Levi Leipheimer (USA) of Astana rode into a hometown welcome from the cheering crowds lining the roads in Santa Rosa. Fourth overall after today’s stage, Leipheimer heads into Stage 2 with high hopes for his team’s performance over the rest of the week.

“Compared to last year, the crowds just get bigger and bigger. Every year, I’m astonished at how many people are here,” said Santa Rosa resident Leipheimer. “Cycling has really grown around here and I think that is due in large part to the Amgen Tour of California. It feels great to have people cheer me on and to race on the roads that I know every inch of and have trained on for the past twelve years; it’s really special.”

As a new component to the 2008 Amgen Tour of California professional road cycling race, Stage 1 featured a category Pro 1,2 Women’s Criterium. Using portions of the Stage 1 men’s finishing circuit in Santa Rosa, the Women’s Criterium was enthusiastically welcomed by the fans lining the course. Brooke Miller from Tibco won the inaugural race.


  Amgen Tour of California: Sausalito report
By Yokota Fritz 
The first stage of the Amgen Tour of California is now in the history books. The crowds at the start in Sausalito were magnificent, with thousands of fans enthusiastically cheering on their favorites cyclists. Hundreds lined up outside the team van of High Road waiting for George Hincapie, then shouted encouragement when he stepped from the RV. Other obvious favorites include Santa Rosa native Levi Leipheimer (Astana) and Mario "Cipo" Cipollini


The fans were fabulous as the peloton paraded three times through Sausalito. Freddy Rodgriguez suffered some sort of mechanical problem in the first lap and fell behind (apropos of his name FRED), but he was able to catch up by the time the race started in earnest.

The crew from caught a ride in the media van; their report is not available as of this writing but look for some good stuff from them soon.

Ken "KWC" Conley traveled up to Santa Rosa to cover the women's criterium, which started at noon (sorry about my earlier misinformation!). He should also have some good shots of the start and finish -- again, his photos are not yet downloaded but watch his Spare Cycles site for his fantastic cycling photography.

Finally, be sure to listen to The FredCast cycling podcast for interviews from the field.

My photoset from the Stage 2 start can be found here at Flickr -- please feel free to comment on the photos. You might see some recognizable faces. A shout out to all the kind bike nerds I met today!


Sunday, February 17, 2008
  ATOC: Prologue recap
By Yokota Fritz 
Everybody knows by now that Fabian Cancellara of CSC won the individual time trial in 3:51. Bradley Wiggins of High Road and Slipstream's Tyler Farrar followed by just four and five seconds, respectively, with last year's winner Levi Leipheimer (Astana) coming in four place.

Some spectators on the course expressed surprise that Leipheimer didn't win, but the time trial is not his strong suit, and coming in just six seconds behind a time trial specialist is nothing to sneeze at.

Rock Racing Rolls
Rock Racing of course participated in the race with their five approved riders, including 40 year old Mario Cipollini who came out of retirement to join the team just last month. The crowd roared with approval as Cipo shot out of the gate. "The size of the crowd was amazing and caught me off guard," Cipollini said. "It was great to hear so many people cheering my name."

While Cipo finished 44th overall and his team is in 10th place (out of 17), the Rock Racing team tent was clearly the spectator favorite as hundreds crowded around to get autographs from the cyclists before the race start. Rock Racing also had the largest area by taking an entire block with their trademark Rolls Royce, autograph tables with sound system and video screens, warmup tent, a monstrous team RV and several other support vehicles. Compare to some of the other continental teams such as Jelly Belly, which had a minivan in which the cyclists squeezed to change from their cycling shorts into something more comfortable.

More Tour of California coverage

David interviewed Phil Liggett, Cancellara and others in his prologue commentary at the FredCast cycling podcast. Steven does his usual great job of providing links to the various photo and video resources of the tour at Steephill.TV. And KWC's photographic skills are put to excellent use in his Tour of California photo sets.

I plan to be in Sausalito tomorrow to cover the start of Stage 1, while KWC plans to travel to Santa Rosa to cover the finish and photograph the women's criterium, which should start at about 3 p.m.

Prologue Quotes

Fabian Cancellara (SUI), First Place, Prologue

Team CSC

On today’s race:

“It was like being in the Tour de France out there on the course today. The last time I raced in front of so many people was in London last year. The Amgen Tour of California is a really great race. It is good for cycling. The race has had a great start in the past two years. I hope it continues like this.”

On winning the Prologue:

“To win the first race of the season wearing the Rainbow Jersey is a great experience for me, and for the team as well. It’s just amazing. I had hoped to be first today, and as a team, we hope to win the Amgen Tour of California.”

On the anti-doping testing:

“I think it’s important that all teams continue to fight. For the teams and sponsors, what they did last year and this year, this is what everyone has to do. I think the results show that we did the right thing. The biological passport is a good thing. We need cycling to go back to the way it used to be. We need to give our best on the road. I accept the rules and I’ll continue to do my best.”

Bradley Wiggins (GBR), Second Place, Prologue

High Road

On his second place finish:

“If somebody had told me this morning before the race that I’d finish second, I’d have been very happy. Fabian (Cancellara) is a great rider and it’s a great event. I’m very pleased.”

On the crowds:

“The crowds were phenomenal. It was great from start to finish; a wall of sound. We’re not really used to that in Europe. The crowds there aren’t always as supportive as they are here. Americans are 100 percent for everybody.”

Tyler Farrar (USA), Third Place, Prologue

Slipstream Chipotle Powered by H30

On his third place finish:

“I was pleasantly surprised with how well I did today. This race was good for me. I knew it was possible for me to have a good ride, and it was an honor to be on the podium with Fabian (Cancellara) and Bradley (Wiggins). Today’s finish ranks up there as one of my top-5 finishes. This was a fantastic day for our team, and hopefully a sign of things to come.”

On his first appearance in the Amgen Tour of California:

“This is my first time riding in Amgen Tour of California. It’s probably the biggest cycling event in American, and for me, as an American, it’s great to finally take part in one of the nation’s top races. I couldn’t believe the fans; it felt like one of the biggest races in the world. Every rider in Europe wants to come to this race. I can’t believe how lucky we’ve been with the weather. All the guys in Europe speak so highly about this race.”

Edvald Boasson Hagen (NOR), Best Young Rider, Prologue

High Road

On his first professional race:

“This is my first professional race, so it’s a good start, and it’s good to start my season so well.”

On the today’s course:

“I liked the course. The first two corners went well for me. The straight was longer than I thought it would be, so I tired a little coming to the end, but I think it’s like that for every rider.”

On the crowds:

“The crowds were really good. There were a lot of people and it was fun to ride through them.”

Levi Leipheimer (USA), Amgen Tour of California Defending Champion


On today’s race:

“A prologue like this, combined with best riders in world, makes for a competitive day. I’m feeling good and looking forward to riding into my hometown of Santa Rosa – it’s going to be extra special.”


  Tour of California Palo Alto prologue photos
By Yokota Fritz 
It was a BEAUTIFUL day in the Bay Area for a bicycle race today. Thousands of fans lined the streets of downtown Palo Alto, California for the 2008 Amgen Tour of California prologue today, with folks mixing with pros and enthusiasts.

I've uploaded about 100 photos from today's prologue to my 2008 Amgen Tour of California photoset on Flickr.

20080213 055

There might be some duplicates -- I had some problems with a coffee shop Internet connection and had to restart the upload a few times.

I stayed near the start and along the middle of the prologue route on University Avenue in Palo Alto. I talked with Ken Conley and he'll post his finish line photos later this evening. You can hear commentary on today's race from me and others over at The Fredcast cycling podcast later tonight also. Send some good wishes David's way -- he crashed on the ski slopes, tore up his face and broke his thumb!


Saturday, February 16, 2008
  Palo Alto Tour of California parking
By Yokota Fritz 
The Palo Alto ATOC organizers posted information about event parking for the Amgen Tour of California prologue on Sunday at the Palo Alto Tour of California website. You can find detailed information about road closures, event parking, public transportation options, free shuttles, and bicycle valet parking. If you're driving, you'll want to pay attention to the event parking maps.

Spectators are encouraged to use public transportation to get to the race. The trains will accommodate up to 1000 riders, although they have limited bicycle car capacity and are encouraging you to leave your bike at home.

More parking, road closures, suggested viewing locations and transportation options for Sausalito (PDF), Santa Rosa, Sacramento road closures and parking locations (PDF).


  Will Rock Racing appear?
By Yokota Fritz 
Michael Ball, the owner of Rock Racing, stirred things up a little this afternoon in Palo Alto when he threatened to withdraw his team from the Tour of California unless all eight of the cyclists he submitted to AEG are allowed to race.

Steephill.TV promises video of that conference soon. KWC also reports on the kickoff press conference and has a full gallery of cyclists photos at his website.


  Amgen Tour of California women's criterium
By Yokota Fritz 
Organizers for the Amgen Tour of California confirmed yesterday the participation of 28 women's teams in the first Amgen Tour of California Women's Criterium presented by the Redwood Regional Breast Center.

As a new component to the 2008 Amgen Tour of California professional road cycling race, the Women’s Criterium will bring the thrill of professional women’s cycling to fans in the hours before the men’s finish in downtown Santa Rosa. Using portions of the Stage 1 men’s finishing circuit in Santa Rosa, the newest addition to the National Racing Calendar (NRC) promises to be an exciting and historic event for racers and fans alike. Held on Monday, Feb. 18 during the Amgen Tour of California, the Women's Criterium will consist of a field of 125 riders competing for more than $10,000 in prizes.

"The response from women's cycling teams when presented with an opportunity to take part in the Amgen Tour of California Women's Criterium has been robust and enthusiastic,” said Laura Charameda, race director. “The event will boast top talent, and we can expect an aggressive race from a highly-motivated women's field. I am very encouraged to see that we're getting such good feedback from the women's elite cycling community for the event's first edition."

The 2008 Amgen Tour of California Women’s Criterium roster includes representation from top American women’s cycling teams including, Aaron’s, Cheerwine, Colavitta/Sutterhome, Proman, Team High Road, Tibco and ValueAct Capital.

"I've been in Sonoma County all week with the ValueAct Capital team for our training camp,” said Katie Mactier, Australian World Champion, riding for ValueAct Capital Cycling Team. “I'm really looking forward to racing with the girls again in the Amgen Tour of California Women’s Criterium. We have a very strong team; and I know the competition will be very good and we plan to go out there and win."


Friday, February 15, 2008
  2008 Amgen Tour of California coverage
By Yokota Fritz 
To follow the 2008 Amgen Tour of California LIVE, your best bet is to use the Adobe Tour Tracker, which is simply amazing. GPS tracks the location of cyclists on an online route map, and a constant video feed with audio commentary puts you in the action.

For archived video footage, Steephill.TV is always good at posting links online shortly after the stages end.

On cable TV, Versus will provide recaps of each day's stages most evenings at 8 PM PST / 11 PM EST, with coverage during the weekend stages (including the prologue) beginning at 2 PM PST / 5 PM EST.

KWC has some good photos and video of Chris Horner and Levi Leipheimer speaking at a fundraiser in Palo Alto the other day. Look for more pre-race photography at his Spare Cycles blog.

KWC may also provide some race commentary along with myself and a few other people for the FredCast cycling podcast, which will provide daily audio updates of the race. Watch also for live updates on the Tour of California from Steephill.TV. Watch this space also for updates, news, photos and video on the northern California stages.

Pro cyclists are *thick* around these parts -- it's kind of cool. Cyclelicious reader Gazer followed a pack of Bouygues Telecom riders into the Stanford campus during his commute.


Wednesday, February 13, 2008
  Tour of California Palo Alto Prologue viewing guide
By Yokota Fritz 
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.


Tuesday, January 29, 2008
  ATOC anti doping strategy
By Yokota Fritz 
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.


Thursday, January 17, 2008
  2008 Amgen Tour of California teams
By Yokota Fritz 
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)


Wednesday, January 09, 2008
  Team BMC dinner
By Yokota Fritz 
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
By Yokota Fritz 
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.


Tuesday, November 13, 2007
  Tour of California 2008 route announced
By Yokota Fritz 
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.


Friday, February 03, 2006
  Tour of California television schedule
By Yokota Fritz 
Update: 2008 Amgen Tour of California video coverage details here. Below is old 2006 info.

Skateboarding Videos - Free Trial!

Summary: Tour of California TV Schedule: ESPN 2 will broadcast recaps of the Amgen Tour of California each evening of the race at 1 A.M. Eastern Time / 10 Pacific. Watch for video updates online at Cycling.TV, and at The Steeps. See the links below or Cyclelicious for updates.

ESPN2 is the "official broadcast partner" of the Amgen Tour of California. This means EPSN provides zero mention of the Amgen Tour of California on their Cycling news page, and they provide one hour of television coverage each night of the tour begining at 1 AM Eastern Time. Yay for the inauguration of this premier American professional cycling stage race.

Steephill.TV plans to provide daily recaps of each stage with video and photos from the day.

Simon at Cycling.TV tells me he's working on permission to provide live coverage of the Tour of California, and will be in California working with CSC and T-Mobile during the Tour of California. are also planning to cover the 2006 Tour de Georgia.

Amgen Tour of California Television Schedule. Nightly, 1 AM to 2 AM EST, February 20 - 27 on ESPN2.

Bike shops, get your broadband Internet, test your feed from Cycling.TV, and get the correct hardware to show the Tour of California on the bigscreen for your customers. Do it TODAY because you WILL need to order parts. If you need help or have questions on how to do this, leave a comment below.



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