Started 16 years ago to celebrate the anniversary of Reno’s first coffee house, Deux Gros Nez, the Tour de Nez has grown from a Masters Twilight Criterium to a six-day festival complete with pro, amateur and enthusiast events.
After scaling back last year to just two days, with a new partnership with Northstar-at-Tahoe the cycling festival has reinvented itself this year. Two years ago, Race founder Tim Healion ran into problems with the Reno-Sparks Convention & Visitors Authority. The new partnership means less time in Reno.
“We’re going big this year,” said Race Director Tim Healion. “We’ve got a new home in Reno, The Grand Sierra Resort, and a permanent home at Northstar-at-Tahoe Resort. We’re excited, they’re excited and the race is going to be nothing short of amazing this year.”
Back on the men’s NRC schedule, the Tour de Nez’s 5-stage professional race kicks off with the Reno Criterium at the Grand Sierra Resort on Wednesday, June 18th. The 1.25 hour timed race is held on a mostly flat one mile, 6-ish turn course with a slight rise to the finish area. The race bible notes that the road is in variable condition, with some marked hazards, including a gap between the paved road and concrete gutter at the backside of the course.
The action continues on Thursday, June 19th with two stages. In the morning is the 3.5-mile (5.6 km) Northstar-at-Tahoe Time Trial that is all uphill with a 7% grade. No time trial bikes are permitted for the time trial.
The famous 75-minute Downtown Truckee Criterium is run on a fast, flat, and short course through the streets of historic Truckee. There’s a long straight away starting out the race with a few hundred plus degree turns at the end and a chicane on the backside.
The event heads up to Northstar-at-Tahoe on June 20th and 21st for the next stages.
Stage 4, on June 20th, is the 65-mile (100 km) Northstar-at-Tahoe Mountain Circuit Race, where the competitors do 10 laps on a 6.5 mile course that is either ‘all the way up or all the way down’ and very difficult. The course tops out with a 15% grade and will challenge even the toughest climbers. It begins and ends in the Village at Northstar.
Saturday June 21st brings stage 5, the 44 mile (70 km) Northstar-at-Tahoe Village Circuit Race. The race course is a hilly, difficult 2-mile loop that includes a passage over the pavers in the Northstar Village, and the adjacent roads at the village.
Also new for 2008 is the chance to catch some of cycling’s top female pro riders who will compete in the first Northstar Resort Tour de Nez Women’s Pro Race, on Saturday, June 21. The women will race 24 miles (39 km).
According to the list of pre-registered riders, Bissell is sending the most riders with seven, including second overall at Gila Burke Swindlehurst and Aaron Olson who was extremely active at the just completed Nature Valley Grand Prix. BMC led by Tour de Leelanau winner Taylor Tolleson is sending 5 riders. Same number from Kelly Benefit/Medifast led by last year’s winner Alex Candelario. Successful Living has 4 riders and Jittery Joe’s is sending 2 riders with Neil Shirley. Two-time winner Eric Wohlberg is the lone Symmetrics representative. Same for Justin England (Toyota-United), winner of the Nevada City classic. Amateur team Cal Giant is sending a full squad too.
Tour de Nez 2007 Truckee Criterium
Race Schedule (complete schedule)
Wednesday, June 18: 6:45-8:00pm Reno Criterium
Thursday, June 19: 10:00am Northstar time trial
Thursday, June 19: 6:15-7:30pm Truckee Criterium
Friday, June 20: 1:30-4:30pm Northstar Mountain Circuit race
Saturday, June 21: 4:15-5:15pm Northstar village circuit race Women Pro 1,2,3
Saturday, June 21: 6:00-7:30pm Northstar village circuit race Pro, 1 Men