Updated info from the organizers:
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.
“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
Due to severe and unsafe weather conditions in the Lake Tahoe area, the start of Stage 1 of the 2011 Amgen Tour of California has been delayed. If the weather improves, a shortened stage will be started at 1:15 p.m. PT.
“We will continue to monitor the weather conditions and state of the roads and make a final decision at noon PT, with the riders’ safety as our number one priority.” stated Andrew Messick, President of AEG Sports, presenter of the Amgen Tour of California in an official release.
The new route will continue to take the riders from South Lake Tahoe to Northstar up the west side of Lake Tahoe. The stage will be approximately 50 miles/80 km with no changes to the timing or the finish line at Northstar.
Two KOMs would still be part of the route, the first one, a category 4, at Emerald Bay at just 9 miles into the stagewith an average grade of 3.2%. The riders then face a tricky descent with no guard rails as the continue north on the westshore of the Lake.
The final KOM, a category 3, is Brockway Summit at over 7,100 ft with average grade of 5.2% over 3.2 miles. The finish ETA is between 3:12-3:36pm.
Even though shortened the racing should still be aggressive with a KOM jersey and a stage win on the line. And the views should be breathtaking on snowy Lake Tahoe.