As America’s biggest stage race, Amgen Tour of California attracts top riders from around the world for the seven-day Tour in mid-May, which also includes a Women’s WorldTour event.
Although he woke up in the middle of the night with a fever, Saxo Bank’s race leader Fabian Cancellara hoped to honor his Amgen Tour of California yellow jersey Sunday by pushing through his illness.
From the beginning of this Amgen Tour of California, questions have surrounded Rock Racing. Up until a couple of weeks ago, one of the questions was simply, “What will they ride?” The answer arrived with an announcement that Kestrel would provide RT900 frames and forks, and Shimano would provide wheels and components. However, a visit to the team trailer to check out the new bikes invited only more mystery.
Rock Racing's Francisco Mancebo won stage 1 of the 2009 Amgen Tour of California, a 107.6-mile stage held in brutal weather that not only affected racers, but the race itself. A long, Hail Mary solo effort earned Mancebo the stage and the leader’s jersey, and put Astana and the rest of the teams on the defensive, with a shattered field coming into the drenched finishing circuits in Santa Rosa. At day’s end, the list of general classification contenders shortened drastically, to those among the 18 riders who finished 67 seconds behind Mancebo.
to VeloNews.com's Live Coverage of the Prologue Time Trial of the 2009 Amgen Tour of California.
Today's route is a largely flat 3.9-kilometer (2.4-mile for our conversion-challenged readers) route on the streets of California's capital city, Sacramento.
Riders will be lining up to start soon, with the first rider - Rock Racing's Glen Chadwick - rolling out of the starting gate at 1:30 p.m. local time.
“Realizing the importance of the case, my men are rounding up twice the usual number of suspects.” —Inspector Renault, “Casablanca”
Riders weren’t the only ones going full gas the day of the prologue. Mechanics from all teams also put in strong efforts to assemble fleets of TT and road bikes, in the days and even hours leading up to the race’s kick-off. We’re not just talking fine-tuning, either, but in many cases all-out assembly. Steerer tubes were cut, components installed and tires mounted. And the pro wrenches weren’t too shy to use zip ties and electrical tape when the situation called for it.
The first road stage of the 2009 Amgen Tour of California will take riders from the cycling crazy college town of Davis west into Santa Rosa, home of two-time race champion Levi Leipheimer. While there are three categorized climbs on this 107.6-mile stage, it still appears to be one for the sprinters. [nid:87869] The two main obstacles for the fast-twitch finishers will be the Howell Mt. Road climb, which tops out at about 1,800 feet and comes at mile 60, and the Petrified Forest Road climb, which is much shorter — only about 600 feet of elevation gain — and comes at mile 82.
In some ways, Saturday’s prologue at the Amgen Tour of California went according to script. Olympic time trial champion Fabian Cancellara crushed all comers, powering around the flat course like a motorbike, just as he did last year.
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