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Professional Cycling For the Fans Follow the Tour de France,the Giro de Italia, the Spring Classics, or other professional cycling races? Here's your home...

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Old 07-25-08, 11:28 PM   #1
JohnRW
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TdF has impressive stages. Why not Tour of Cal ?

For the most part, it seems the mountain stages define the Tour de France. We hear more about the Col de .... more than some flat stage with lots of sprint finishes. The scenery is impressive, in the mountains and the riders make names for them selves climbing up those roads. So, I look at the stages in the Tour of California and I see .... Hills and flats. We have some SERIOUS mountains in California. We have some really impressive areas they could ride in. Yet, they don't seem to use those roads. Any idea why ?
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Old 07-25-08, 11:36 PM   #2
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Sure. When the American public starts supporting bike racing like the Europeans, then they will tolerate the inconvenience of the roads being shut down. I don't see that happening in my lifetime. Heaven help the soccer mom who can't get to WalMart because of "that stupid bike race."
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Old 07-25-08, 11:36 PM   #3
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For the most part, it seems the mountain stages define the Tour de France. We hear more about the Col de .... more than some flat stage with lots of sprint finishes. The scenery is impressive, in the mountains and the riders make names for them selves climbing up those roads. So, I look at the stages in the Tour of California and I see .... Hills and flats. We have some SERIOUS mountains in California. We have some really impressive areas they could ride in. Yet, they don't seem to use those roads. Any idea why ?

Most of the really high passes probably aren't bikeable in February, during ToC. Now, if you wanted to do a XC ski/cycling duathlon...

There is another thread on this in the road racing forum.
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Old 07-25-08, 11:48 PM   #4
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The 2009 TOC has been extended by two stages and includes a mountaintop finish on Palomar. It takes some time, but apparently they are capable of listening.
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Old 07-26-08, 02:46 AM   #5
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Let me help...

The Tour of California is an early season event. It takes place before even the European classics start. In actuality, it's a real big training race. So it's set up to offer a lot of different things, but not the big stuff that the Tour de France offers is the middle and in the meat of the bike season. Riders are in the best shape they will be all year. There's a reason for that.

You don't just go out and race up six major mountain passes in two days and do close to 100 miles of climbing in two days, in February. Plus, as was mentioned, there's a helluva lot of snow in the mountains in February.

They barely get some of the Giro climbs in, in May.
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Old 07-26-08, 07:07 AM   #6
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They don't close the roads for the Tour of California?
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Old 07-26-08, 07:17 AM   #7
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They don't close the roads for the Tour of California?
...
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Old 07-26-08, 11:37 AM   #8
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They don't close the roads for the Tour of California?
I would assume not, there is this matter of traffic over the kind of distance that a stage covers.

Last month the wife and I caught the Friday stage of the Tour of Pennsylvania, Bedford to Latrobe on US 30 over the mountains. Now, anyone who has ever lived in the area knows that US 30 is the ONLY east/west route for about fifty miles, so the order of the day was a rolling blockade running about two miles ahead of the breakaway, and ending about a half mile after the broomwagon.

Anybody coming in the opposite direction was immediately forced to pull over by the state police, and there were additional cops at intervals just in case somebody decided not to take the pullover order seriously. It worked quite nicely, the traffic stopped at our viewing point were held up for about 15 minutes.
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Old 07-26-08, 11:59 AM   #9
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It is true that the really high passes, in the Sierras might be a problem, but there are places in the southern part of the state with mountain roads. Highway 38 or 18 up to Big Bear, for instance.
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Old 07-26-08, 12:44 PM   #10
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I am so ready for US cycling to move back into an era where it gets the sort of support it did in the 70's and 80's. Personally I suspect that all it takes is a commitment to create that sort of excitement. Thats what Mo Siegel did when they started the Red Zinger. They CREATED the excitement. I crave a one or two week Tour of Colorado.
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Old 07-26-08, 12:45 PM   #11
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It is true that the really high passes, in the Sierras might be a problem, but there are places in the southern part of the state with mountain roads. Highway 38 or 18 up to Big Bear, for instance.
Wouldn't those roads be likely to have snow in Feb too, if there's any rain along the coast, or are those really high desert?

The reason the TOC has been successful, IMO: the first year or two, especially, the weather was FANTASTIC. The Euro teams that originally came went back and told those that didn't initially come: "you can stay in Europe and freeze your ass off in the one-day classics, ride in mud, over cobblestones, etc., or you can tour CA for a week in mostly 60-70 degree weather, under mostly sunny skies, with several beautiful coastal stages, and one or two climbing stages, but nothing that will wreck your early-season training - I know which one I'd rather do".
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Old 07-26-08, 01:28 PM   #12
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Wouldn't those roads be likely to have snow in Feb too, if there's any rain along the coast, or are those really high desert?

The reason the TOC has been successful, IMO: the first year or two, especially, the weather was FANTASTIC. The Euro teams that originally came went back and told those that didn't initially come: "you can stay in Europe and freeze your ass off in the one-day classics, ride in mud, over cobblestones, etc., or you can tour CA for a week in mostly 60-70 degree weather, under mostly sunny skies, with several beautiful coastal stages, and one or two climbing stages, but nothing that will wreck your early-season training - I know which one I'd rather do".

Good points. I wonder if last year's death march down the coast (the one where people abandoned with hypothermia) will have any effect on this year's turnout.
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Old 07-26-08, 01:35 PM   #13
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The 2009 TOC has been extended by two stages and includes a mountaintop finish on Palomar. It takes some time, but apparently they are capable of listening.

yep. the TOC is evolving...and it's an early season stage race that attracts the biggest names in cycling. last year's field had quite a few world champions and many other cyclists who are among the best in the peloton.

pretty big deal if you ask me especially since lance no longer races .

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Old 07-26-08, 01:38 PM   #14
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They could use a few mountain stages.

Angeles Crest Highway if they fix a few sections. It's about 66 miles in length. They could start or finish in Wrightwood or Pasadena depending if they want to go uphill or downhill. The road is kind of dangerous if you go too fast, mis-judge a curve and go over the side.

Donner Pass Road is another option and that's lightly used but well maintained 2-lane road.

A lot of the old ridge route is still intact and they are trying to preserve and fix it. If they ever open it up again, it would be a challenging course to ride. Like Angeles Crest HWY, has a few infamous and dangerous curves and blind bends that were nicknamed because of all the deadly accidents. Would have to jump on the I-5 around the Pyramid Lake area though, so maybe that's out unless they could use the service road that rings around the lake and if it's extended to connect back to the old ridge route.

The Tour of California is still a new race and slowly but surely, stages are being added almost every year. It's a matter of time before they can get a few mountain stages added without opposition from the local residents and businesses. It has the possibility to become a 3-week race. Would be brutal if they added a desert stage with a mountain climb at the end.
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Old 07-26-08, 01:59 PM   #15
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They could use a few mountain stages.

Angeles Crest Highway if they fix a few sections. It's about 66 miles in length. They could start or finish in Wrightwood or Pasadena depending if they want to go uphill or downhill. The road is kind of dangerous if you go too fast, mis-judge a curve and go over the side.

Donner Pass Road is another option and that's lightly used but well maintained 2-lane road.

A lot of the old ridge route is still intact and they are trying to preserve and fix it. If they ever open it up again, it would be a challenging course to ride. Like Angeles Crest HWY, has a few infamous and dangerous curves and blind bends that were nicknamed because of all the deadly accidents. Would have to jump on the I-5 around the Pyramid Lake area though, so maybe that's out unless they could use the service road that rings around the lake and if it's extended to connect back to the old ridge route.

The Tour of California is still a new race and slowly but surely, stages are being added almost every year. It's a matter of time before they can get a few mountain stages added without opposition from the local residents and businesses. It has the possibility to become a 3-week race. Would be brutal if they added a desert stage with a mountain climb at the end.
donner pass road in the winter is something i don't think you'll ever see.

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Old 07-26-08, 02:07 PM   #16
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donner pass road in the winter is something i don't think you'll ever see.

ed rader

Agreed - only if they move the TOC to May-Oct would that be a road that could be used without undue weather risk.

I doubt they'll ever calendar-shift like that, b/c the "space" they have now is for Euro teams' winter training, when CA weather is better 98% of the time than N. European weather. May-Oct, they'd have "in season" competition with much more established races and tours.
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Old 07-26-08, 03:05 PM   #17
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They don't close the roads for the Tour of California?
Your signature makes sense now.
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Old 07-26-08, 04:58 PM   #18
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Yeah if it was later in the year they could do a Tahoe city to Cisco grove, over 40 "old Donner Pass". I did it over 4th of July weekend and if it is anything even sort of close to alp duhez, spelled wrong, then we are getting somewhere. It has awesome sceanery and I din't think anyone will complain about closing it for a day. O except that guy in a cliff bar outfit who passed me like I was going backwards!
They are improving the stages and the more folks see the benifits and cycling grows within the state, then it is a good bet we will get more stages. Hwy 17 comes to mind, anything above Auburn on Hwy 80 is good.

I plan on watching at least one stage in person this year. VS did an ok job of covering it last year. Not up to Euro standards but more than I expected.
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Old 07-26-08, 06:09 PM   #19
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Wouldn't those roads be likely to have snow in Feb too, if there's any rain along the coast, or are those really high desert?
No, not high desert, but being in Southern Cal, they don't get as much snow as up north.

If you use google maps or use Google Earth and put in Big Bear Lake, California, you'll get a good idea of the terrain and where it is in relation to Los Angeles. The used to have triathlons in Big Bear. Lance actually one at least one of those.
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Old 07-26-08, 06:33 PM   #20
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Cali needs money yo!

the more money the better the stages, and the better the competition. Money is not magical however. but if it was there tomorrow, with all kinds of celebrities with name recognition in attencance, to make it look like some big ****, well then you would see a Long tour with interesting stages and racers.
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Old 07-26-08, 07:14 PM   #21
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They could run rte 74 out of Palm Desert. That's a pretty serious climb with breathtaking views. Perhaps too dangerous to run downhill though.
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Old 07-26-08, 10:53 PM   #22
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Yeah, how about a desert stage? I remember pedaling through Joshua Tree National Monument in awe at the rock formations. That would be good for the viewers, and very unlikely to be rained out.
Lancaster to Big Bear would be a tough climb.
Salton Sea (below sea level) up highway 78 to Julian or something? There's a lot of amazing roads in California, not just coastal hills.
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Old 07-26-08, 11:15 PM   #23
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Yeah, how about a desert stage? I remember pedaling through Joshua Tree National Monument in awe at the rock formations. That would be good for the viewers, and very unlikely to be rained out.
Lancaster to Big Bear would be a tough climb.

Salton Sea (below sea level) up highway 78 to Julian or something? There's a lot of amazing roads in California, not just coastal hills.
They'd have to be careful to not route the stage past Dudley's, or half the peloton might stop for their bread.
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Old 07-27-08, 08:22 AM   #24
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If you use google maps or use Google Earth and put in Big Bear Lake, California, you'll get a good idea of the terrain and where it is in relation to Los Angeles. The used to have triathlons in Big Bear. Lance actually one at least one of those.
I go skiing in Big Bear in February, and many times they make you put chains on your car.

I'd love to see a pair of Zipp wheels with chains.
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Old 07-27-08, 11:29 AM   #25
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FWIW RW back in post #5 probably has it nailed. California could come up with a 3 week tour that could rival the Big 3 in difficulty ut no one would want to ride lke that during the early season.

ToC could move to the summer and try to compete with thee Big 3 but their chances of drawing top talent from the Euro tours is probably pretty close to zero.

It seems like they've got a nice thing going and hopefully it'll continue to grow.

I'm more than a bit worried about the Tour of Georgia snce that's the one within easy driving distance for me.

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