Category: tour of california 2009

Your pick: Kim Kirchen, Christian Vandevelde, Levi Leipheimer

The three cyclists favored to win the 2009 Tour of California are Kim Kirchen (Team Columbia, Luxembourg), Levi Leipheimer (Team Astana, USA), and Christian Vande Velde (Garmin-Chipotle, USA).

Last year, Christian Vande Velde won the Tour of Missouri after placing fifth in the Tour de France and 3rd place in the 2008 Tour of California.

Levi Leipheimer is the hero in his hometown of Santa Rosa. He placed 6th in the 2006 Tour of California and took the yellow jersey in the 2007 and 2008 editions of the Tour of California.

Kim Kirchen is the national time trial champion in Luxembourg. He’s considered a strong up and coming rider and expectations are high for him to ride strong with his Team Columbia team mates.

Lance Armstrong is doing wonders for media attention on the Tour of California and I expect gigantic crowds along the race route all throughout California because of the Armstrong effect. Armstrong is a strong rider, but will his training and strength be enough to get him on the podium this year?

What do you think? Who will you watch this year in California? Who will take the California golden jersey in Escondido on February 22?

Santa Rosa cycling weekend

Cycling fans in Santa Rosa have many options to view or participate this weekend.

Velove Santa Rosa

Velove Winter Bike Festival this Saturday, February 14 is Santa Rosa’s new winter bike festival with a Cyclocross race (11 AM to 5 PM). A marching band (!) provides live music.

Velove continues on Sunday, February 15 with the West Coast Gold Sprints from 12 PM to 7 PM as local teams face off in stationary bike races at the Historic Railroad Square.

Don’t forget about the Amgen Tour of California Women’s Criterium beginning at 1 PM on Sunday. The cyclists will race around 3rd and 4th Streets between B and E Streets. 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 1 of the Amgen Tour of California finishes in Santa Rosa on Sunday, with the riders expected to arrive at the finish line in downtown Santa Rosa at about 4 PM.

Velove is a production of Bike Monkey, the City of Santa Rosa, Mainstreet and West Coast Gold Sprints. For more information and more cycling activities in Santa Rosa this weekend, visit the Velove Bike Festival website.

Tour of California from the Golden Gate Bridge

Stage 2 of the 2009 Amgen Tour of California begins in Sausalito at 8:30 AM near the Spinnaker Restaurant. Downtown Sausalito is great, bikey town and the headquarters for Breezer Bikes and Swobo. You’ll likely run into the bike people from Breezer and Swobo in Sausalito or at the Bike Expo.

Let's hear it Sausalito LOUDER

The cyclists make two circuits along Bridgeway and Caledonia where you’ll see the cyclists up close along the sidewalks during their neutral start.

The peloton then moves south from Bridgeway, up the steep hill of Alexander to the Golden Gate Bridge approach.

Tour of California viewing from the Golden Gate Bridge

Along the Golden Gate Bridge, both the pedestrian walkway and bikeway will be open on race day, though cyclists will be required to walk their bikes on the bikeway, and spectators will be screened by security personnel. You can watch the race from either walkway, but the cyclists will ride on the northbound side of the bridge.

Amgen Tour of California: Santa Cruz viewing locations

Pro cycling fans will have several choices to view some great cycling in Santa Cruz County during Stage 2 of the 2009 Amgen Tour of California on Presidents Day, Monday, February 16.

California Highway 1 at Bonny Doon Road The cyclists will zoom down Highway 1 from Pacifica, past Davenport and then turn left onto Bonny Doon Road to begin the last climb of Stage 2. There’s ample parking nearby for the Bonny Doon Beach (a nude beach). Santa Cruz Metro routes 40 & 42 stop at this intersection. Santa Cruz Metro will operate on a regular weekday schedule on President’s Day. I suggest taking #40 from downtown Santa Cruz at 8:30 AM to Bonny Doon Beach, then return to Santa Cruz on the #42 at 1 PM. Check the weather forecast, pack a lunch, use sunscreen. It’s about 10 miles of wide shoulders along Highway 1 to this point from downtown Santa Cruz.

Highway 1 at Bonny Doon Road

Bonny Doon Road at Smith Grade. You might be able to park along Smith Grade and watch as the cyclists climb Bonny Doon Road at this point. From here, getting back to downtown Santa Cruz in time for the finish might be difficult no matter your mode of transportation. Santa Cruz Metro routes 42 and 41 travel along Bonny Doon Road.

Smith Grade looking to Bonny Doon Road

Pine Flats Road and Empire Grade The cyclists hit the summit of their climb as they turn from Pine Flats Road to Empire Grade. This is a tremendous viewing opportunity if you can get parking or a ride here. Don’t expect to make it to the finish line, though: the cyclists can hit 60 mph on this steep, windy downhill through the redwood forests of Henry Cowell Redwoods State Park and along the UC-Santa Cruz campus as they zoom into Santa Cruz. Santa Cruz Metro routes 42 and 41 stop at this intersection.

Pine Flats Road approaching Empire Grade

Bay Street and High Street The peloton enters the city of Santa Cruz at high speed and turns sharply right from High Street to Bay Street. This intersection — the main entrance to UC-Santa Cruz — is well served by a number of Santa Cruz Metro routes.

On High Street just before Bay Street

Bay and Mission The route finally flattens out after the cyclists turn left onto Mission Street (California Route 1) from Bay Street. Anywhere along Mission Street between Bay and Walnut should be good for viewing. Emily’s on Mission at Laurel might be a good place to sit and watch as you have something good to eat there.

View Larger Map

Santa Cruz High School Along Walnut Street, the Santa Cruz Local Organizing Committee suggests viewing from the big lawn in front of Santa Cruz High School, which is also conveniently at the top of a hill.

View Larger Map

Front Street Hill Several viewing opportunities are available to watch the cyclists come down south down Center Street make a sweeping left turn up Front Street to the finishing stretch.

Front Street Hill

Stage 2 Finish on Front Street Stage 2 of the 2009 Amgen Tour of California finishes at the Santa Cruz Museum of Art and History where Front and River Streets meet in downtown. Several roads will be closed and parking is very limited in Santa Cruz

Santa Cruz Front at Cooper

I’ll be at the downtown finish, and I may be at Highway 1 somewhere, either in Davenport or at the Bonny Doon Road turn if I think I can make it into Santa Cruz before the racers. If you plan to be at any of these points, please leave a comment. If you plan to take photos and post them online, give me a heads up so I know to link to them.

Persistence pays off bringing Tour of California to Santa Cruz

Local business owner and cycling fanatic Matt Twisselman is the Santa Cruz Local Organizing Committee for the 2009 Amgen Tour of California. He’s been trying to bring a stage to Santa Cruz since 2005 and finally succeeded for the 2009 race.

Four years after Twisselman, 49, first thought the race might roll through Santa Cruz, he’s actually going to see it happen. On Feb. 16, the 117-mile second stage of the nine-day Tour of California will begin in Sausalito and finish at the corner of Front and Cooper streets in downtown Santa Cruz. It will be one of the largest sporting events ever hosted by the city. And it may not have happened without Twisselman.

More at the Santa Cruz Sentinel.

Matt Twisselman

Garmin-Chipotle cyclist Svein Tuft will compete in the Tour of California beginning this weekend. This Canadian cyclist has taken a very unusual path to professional sports:

Those who have heard the tale of Svein Tuft have wondered, could it possibly be true?

How he dropped out of school in the 10th grade, lured by the freedom of the outdoors. How he evolved into a barrel-chested woodsman with Paul Bunyan biceps. How he ventured, at 18, from his home in Canada into the wilderness on a $40 thrift-shop bike hooked to a homemade trailer.

They have learned of the way he traveled sparingly, towing only his camping gear, a sack of potatoes and his 80-pound dog, Bear. The way he drank from streams and ate beside an open fire. Or hopped trains across Canada, resting as the land flickered by.

Read more in the New York Times.

Tour of California Stage 8 passes over the summit of Palomar Mountain. If you want to see the race along Palomar Mountain Rich Kelly scouted the route and has his viewing suggestions. Several people also recommend viewing from from Mother’s Kitchen on the Palomar Summit.