Tour of California bicycle race details announced

The Amgen Tour of California bicycle race, which will feature professional racing teams, will start in Palo Alto on Feb. 17, 2008, with a prologue time trial through downtown streets and then up Palm Drive to Stanford University.

The route is 2 miles but the cyclists, approaching speeds of 40 miles per hour, will take less than 5 minutes to complete the course.

Details of the prologue were announced this morning by Mayor Yoriko Kishimoto.

The Tour of California, which has been held the last two years, is an eight-day, 750-mile race that will start in Palo Alto but range as far as Santa Rosa, Sacramento and Pasadena. This is the first time that Palo Alto and Stanford will be part of the race.

The bicycle racers include Olympians and competitors in the Tour de France. Last year's Tour of California was won by Levi Leipheimer, an American who rides for the Discovery team.

"This is a world-class cycling race," Kishimoto said.

The prologue will start in front of City Hall, head east on Hamilton Avenue to Cowper Street, then north to University Avenue through downtown and up Palm Drive, around the Oval, and finish at Museum Way.

-- Don Kazak


Posted by Fritz, a resident of Menlo Park
on Nov 13, 2007 at 1:05 pm

Team Disco is gone, so Levi doesn't race for them now. He now rides for Team Astana. As far as I know, though, Astana has not (yet) confirmed participation in the ToC.

Posted by Shane Wheel, a resident of Another Palo Alto neighborhood
on Nov 14, 2007 at 11:40 pm

This course chosen is extremely disappointing and appears to have been selected primarily for PR purposes, convenience for the city Palo Alto and perhaps pleasing a few sponsors (Subway and Peets Coffee and Tea both have retail stores along the course). In addition, Palo Alto Bicycles enjoys a retail pole position on the course as well. It would have been much more interesting (and perhaps more challenging to to the riders) to run the TT on sections Sand hill, Woodside, King's mountain Road or run TT on Old la Honda Road, *that* would be a prologue. But then it would then be harder for local residents to drive their SUVs with the kids to see the show.

Posted by Patt Baenen-Tapscott, a resident of Portola Valley
on Nov 16, 2007 at 1:11 pm

From my understanding, the prologue is historically very short and in the heart of the city. For the riders, it is probably a stage they can actually enjoy. Little change of crashing or of not being competitive in the results.
A successful prologue offers the community a chance to see world class racers on a very close stage. Having the time trial format gives people a chance to see each racer seperately, as opposed to picking them out of a pack. One place on the course will offer a couple hours of solid, cycling entertainment, as opposed to being on a hill or the side of the road. The peloton goes by, 30 seconds, then the people that got dropped, then it is over.
One way or the other, people need to get to the event. Downtown Palo Alto offers the opportunity for people to ride their bikes, along with the family to make a day of it. A stage day requires allot more driving, with zero opportunity for mass transit.

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