The official release from officials says that Stage 1 of the Tour of California is slated for a 1:15pm Pacific time start – using a much shortened course allowing for the scheduled end time of 3:15-4pm pacific to remain as scheduled.
However, given the weather that just rolled through Sacramento, there still remains the possibility of a complete neutralization of the inaugural stage of the 2011 race.
While I myself was riding across Sacramento – about 100 miles west of the South Lake Tahoe start of Stage 1 – I found myself caught in a hail storm, and thunderstorms continue to roll through this area. However, the official release sent out at about 11:30 am states:
Stage 1 of the 2011 amgen tour of california to start at 1:15 p.m. pT
Route Shortened Due to Later Start Time, but Still Includes KOM and Sprint Competitions
Lake Tahoe, Calif. (May 15, 2011) – After monitoring weather conditions overnight and this morning, while consulting with public safety and race team officials, organizers of the 2011 Amgen Tour of California have announced that the current and projected weather conditions will allow Stage 1 of the race to start at 1:15 p.m. PT at the original start line in South Lake Tahoe. Race officials will continue to pay close attention and monitor the course and all other conditions. If at any time it is determined to be unsafe to continue, the race will be neutralized.
The new route (which merely eliminates a portion of a loop around Lake Tahoe) will continue to take the riders from South Lake Tahoe to Northstar around the west side of Lake Tahoe and will be approximately 50 miles. The projected finish timing, which was to be between 3:15 and 4 p.m. PT will remain unchanged.
The Lifestyle Festival in Northstar will open as scheduled at noon PT, with the timing of the Amgen Breakaway Mile remaining on schedule for 2:30 p.m. PT.
“We have been in constant communication with all parties involved in the 2011 Amgen Tour of California – from public safety and transportation authorities to teams and all of our partners – to ensure our decision protects the safety of our riders and fans,” said Andrew Messick, president of AEG Sports. “We thank everyone for their tireless efforts in bringing this race together, and pledge that we still have a great day of racing ahead of us today.”
Fans are still encouraged to come out to the start line at Montbleu, where rider sign-in will take place at 12:15 p.m. PT, allowing them to see the cyclists up close before they take off for the start of the race. Unfortunately, with the change in course, people will not be able to see both the start and finish in person. Fans in the South Lake Tahoe area who want to experience the Stage 1 finish at Northstar will need be on the road by 12:30 p.m. PT at the latest.
Beginning with a neutral start that takes the cyclists west out of South Lake Tahoe, the race will follow the second half of the original route and feature highlights including:
- King of the Mountains (KOM) competition at Emerald Bay at approximately mile 13
- Sprint line at Tahoe City at approximately mile 31
- KOM competition at Brockway summit at approximately mile 43