Sierra Road tomorrow

Sierra Climb-1-1

Sierra Road won't be a pivotal climb, but it will shake things up a bit. The KOM is positioned too far from the San Jose finish line and there are too many straight open roads to allow anyone to realistically stay away after going over the top. Levi tried to have them change the course so that they would go up Sierra Road twice and finish at the top, but the organizers aren't amenable to mountain-top finishes yet.

Last year featured Bernhard Kohl and Leipheimer going over first, with Zabriskie, Landis, Hincapie, Horner, Julich, and another dozen-or-so riders linking up on the descent. Based on who made it in the lead pack last year, we could expect to see Leipheimer there with Hincapie, McCartney, and Danielson. Basso, of course, has the legs for it as well. From CSC, I would expect Bobby Julich and Christan Vandevelde. T-Mobile's Mick Rogers will probably make it over and we could at least see Michael Barry with him. Bernhard Kohl is riding for Gerolsteiner and may wish to reassert his KOM status, but I wouldn't rule out Slipstream continuing their ToC success and trying to keep Peterson in the KOM lead.

A dark horse for tomorrow's stage is Ben Jacques-Maynes. He's local, he knows the climb. Last year he tried to convert that into a successful breakaway attempt that launched itself well before Sierra Road, but he was caught half-way up the climb. This time, with the overall leader's jersey within grasp, a more conservative strategy could still net him the lead.

related articles: Tour of California 2007
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