How to watch World champion Peter Sagan said that although this year’s Amgen Tour of California route is similar to the route from 2017, Tour of California 2017 The Six Flags Magic Mountain theme park.Sagan won the hilly and technical 10km time trial and took the race lead, and though he would lose the jersey to Julian Alaphilippe the following day on Mt. Baldy,
The men’s race has been reduced to seven stages to better facilitate travel, but will pack the action into a tighter, punchier race that opens with the high-speed circuit in Sacramento, which coincides with the conclusion of the women’s race.
There will be live streaming coverage of the men’s race, and video recaps for the women. Cyclingnews will offer its live text coverage as a companion to the live pictures, getting exclusive information from within the race convoy to enhance your viewing experience. Engage with us on Twitter, and you could find your tweet embedded in our live coverage!
Men’s Stage 1 – Sacramento to Sacramento
Not much to talk about here as far as parcours goes. The course is another flat ride country loop, followed by three laps around the Capitol, with the only significant elevation change being when they ride across the bridge that crosses the Sacramento river. According to the published stage profile, this one has a net elevation gain, from start to finish of, almost 4 meters, which is remarkable since the start/finish line is in the exact same spot. Curious.
Look for a small early break which gains less than enough of an advantage to stay away until the end. Winner will be Peter Sagan because I PAID AN ABSURD AMOUNT FOR HIM AND I DEMAND VALUE!
Men’s Stage 2 – Modesto to San Jose
If you read the official race description for this stage, this one sounds like a climber’s paradise, with six official KOM points climbs! In reality, most of them are a mile or two in length, and come in quick succession, with the only sort-of-real-climby bit being Mt Hamilton, with almost 5 miles at nearly 9%. So something interesting could happen there, if the gods are kind to us and everyone eats their broccoli. But that “something” might only be the effective end of the climbers jersey competition. Still, a smart sprinter who can also climb, someone like say Peter Sagan for example, could sneak off at the top of the Quimby Rd summit and TT to the finish (wink, wink, nudge, nudge). Also, this will not happen.
Men’s Stage 3 – Pismo Beach to Morro Bay
The one is a long country loop from one sleepy central coast beach to another, with a little bump in the middle. Sprinters stage. Nothing to see parcours-wise here, except more amazing countryside. But if you do ever happen to find yourself in this part of Cali, you need to stop, look around, eat a tri-tip sandwich, drink a local brew/vintage, and bask in the magic juju that is the central coast of California, which is truly one of the special places.
Men’s Stage 4 – Santa Barbara to Santa Clarita
Stage 4 is the meat-lover’s sampler platter of this years ToC. You get a little beach appetizer, a rack of coastal mountains, a petite filet of steep climb, followed by a long, slow, uphill grind to the toilet (Santa Clarita). That last part is a bit harsh, but I enjoyed typing it so it stays.
The most interesting part of this stage is the short and steep climb up to the Balcomb Canyon Road summit. It’s less than a mile, but at almost 12% it should make for some interesting visuals, if for nothing else than the fact that all the running and costumed jackholes will be concentrated in one short stretch. As a native, I am already embarrassed.
A climbers break could escape today and successfully make it to the end, but more likely this one will come together when the GC contenders teams drop the plunger.
Men’s Stage 5 – Ontario to Mt. Baldy
This one is going to hurt because Mt. Baldy is a total dick. Trust me. I rode this route once, or at least I rode 90% of it before reality bit me, and it’s a long, long climb. 12,000 total feet of climbing in only 77 miles of racing. My knees hurt just picturing it. The profile tries to make the final climb look like a series of climbs, but it’s just a single climb with a KOM banner in the middle followed by a very short descent. Then the real pain starts.
It’s 20 miles from Glendora up to the top of Baldy, with the steepest bits sadistically located in the last few miles. There are fifteen switchbacks at the end with over 1,000 feet of climbing in the last two miles alone. Seriously, this one is hard. So hard that it could prove to be the proverbial turd in the GC contenders punchbowl. So many poop references in one parcours review. Value for money.
My prediction is that Levi Leipheimer will outclass Chris Horner and take the win. Tradition!
Men’s Stage 6 – Big Bear Lake ITT
It’s a time trial. It’s a very flat time trial. It’s also up in the mountains at 6,700 feet, so maybe that will mess some guys up, but probably not. Most interesting parcours feature is that they finish on a jetty that juts out into the actual lake, so hopefully someone’s brakes will fail and they will go flying into the lake like at one of those Red Bull Flugtag things. Wait a minute! Hey race sponsors, you are passing up a golden opportunity for some kickass cross-promotion! We know that Red Bull has money, and that they are very willing to throw it into a lake, right? Okay, picture this: The 2018 Tour of California Team Time-Trial Flugtag sponsored by Redbull! This is genius! Organizers, you can have the idea for free in exchange for 20% of the gate and 10% of beer sales. Also I want some jerseys and a hat, and all the Red Bull I can drink, which is exactly zero Red Bull. Thank you and you’re welcome.
Men’s Stage 7 – Mountain High to Pasadena
I like this stage because it has the potential to change the overall results on the final day. And if the recent US Presidential election results have taught us one thing, it is that things which sound too batshit-crazy to seriously consider, well, sometimes those things actually happen. This one is mostly just a long descent with a sprinkling of easy climbs in