Tour of California 2010: To May, and the Mountaintops!

toc.logo.gifThe Tour of California has been alternately criticized for being too easy -- no real decisive stages other than the TT -- or too hard, as it is an early season race. Each year the organizers have been able to make it progressively harder as it becomes a more important part of the race calendar, but next year everyone should get their wish:

The Tour of California will be from May 16-23 and it will have a mountain top finish. In 2011, it will have ProTour status.

The later schedule means several things:

  • the Sierra mountains will be more accessible as there will be less snow
  • riders will be more fit to handle more strenuous climbs
  • it will compete for the same calendar space as the Giro

This has long been rumored ever since the demise of the Tour de Georgia. The move should make it a more interesting race, though at the same time it is unlikely that it will be able to field the same quality of field that it has in the past. I had a feeling when I saw Leipheimer, Armstrong, Boonen, Cancellara, Freire, Cavendish, Landis, Hincapie, Sastre, FSchleck, etc... lineup it might be the last time that we saw that quality of field -- of course, if Armstrong starts his own team, we might see him in California one more time. It will be really exciting to start to really have a Tour of California, one that explores the real mountains we have around here, so I think the exchange is worthwhile.

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Comments (3)

Wow.

I mean, wow.

Bruce Borrowman:

Yes but - suppose they give a tour and nobody comes? If you don't have any of the pros there what good will the better weather do? I'm not very likely to travel from Utah as I have the last two years to just see the local riders. I come to have my one chance to see the pros. Besides just because you move it to May doesn't mean better weather, and look at how many rain days there are in the Tour de France.

Swampy:

Personally, I think it's a bad move.

This year more than a few of the high Sierra passes weren't open until late May and then were promptly covered in snow again at the start of June. The weather (ie snow) is about as predictable in May as the good weather on the Cali coast in during February and March.

It's a pity that they didn't have this at this to conincide with the Vuelta - then they'd be able to take the riders up some of the really big climbs around Bishop, CA that go over 10,000ft. There's more than a few climbs down in that neck of the woods that'll put Alpe Dhuez to shame in both gradient and length and make the Joux Plane seem 'average'

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