Stage 3, from San Jose to Livermore goes through some roads previously experienced at the Amgen Tour of California with the exception of the addition of the iconic Northern California climb, Mt Diablo.
But the climb, that comes 50 miles into the stage, will not make a difference in the stage according to Ben Jacques-Maynes (Bissell). “It’s too early. If we finished on top of Diablo, that would be spectacular.”
Two days before the start of the seventh edition of the event, Jacques-Maynes provided his insights on the stages.
Just 28 miles into the race, the riders a sprint to the finish but the race will just be getting started. Heading out north on Livermore Avenue, the riders will likely face a stiff headwind coming down the valley. After passing through the town of Danville, the Amgen Tour of California will grant a wish that has been made for the past six years by riders and fans, “Please climb Mt. Diablo.” For the first time in the history of the race, the riders will climb Mt. Diablo. After a fast and technical descent into Walnut Creek, the race will then head east into the Town of Clayton before connecting back to a familiar route into Livermore. Just nine miles from the finish, the riders will likely tackle blustery winds as they battle the final KOM of the stage up Patterson Pass Road followed by a quick descent that will take the race onto Cross and Tesla roads. On Livermore Avenue once again, it will be just a few miles to what is sure to be a sprint finish in historic downtown Livermore.
“The flattest day of the whole week still climbs Mt Diablo.” laughed Jacques-Maynes who climbed Mt Diablo on his first century when he was 16. . ‘It’s an awesome climb, it’s beautiful. I still kind of feel that these are my home roads.”
But the climb is so early in the race, that shelled riders have time to come back before the last climb of the day, up Patterson Pass where the wind farm is located.
“We race that (Patterson Pass) in a typical NorCal bike race. Every guy around here has ridden that course. We’ve done the run-in into Livermore with Tour of California last year, it should be pretty obvious to people what is happening. It’s a fast finish, you just have to make it over the wind farm.” Jacques-Maynes explained.
A climb that may cause surprises. “I think with the wind farm, that could wreak havoc, it’s a hard climb. If someone goes really fast, an attack could stick over the top of that. I want to say it’s a short day, 115 miles, it’s not a long day, a breakaway could have a good one and be able to ride this one in. Through the severity of the climb, people could misjudge that wind farm climb.”
And of course, like many California roads the pavement is rough. “How many California roads aren’t completely broken apart? The good roads automatically have terrible pavement and that’s what makes them cool, they’re out in the middle of nowhere. Look at the races that people have a bunch of fun at, Copperopolis, every one looks forwards to it because it is so gnarly.” commented Jacques-Maynes. “Between bots dots and pot holes, hands firmly attached to the bars please.”
Jacques-Maynes thinks that today there’s a fair chance that a break could stick to the finish. “The course leading up to Patterson is easy enough that a break could go get some time, and then the chase could mistime the catch. Someone out of the break could do really well and make it over Patterson Pass, and then it’s really not far to the finish line after that and it’s all fast downhill, just whipping right into town.”
He elaborated. “Someone is going to win a sprint in Santa Rosa, and that team is going to ride tempo and hopefully not get dropped over Bear Creek Road and have to fight back on. If they’re strong and they do it, they’re going to win a sprint in Santa Cruz and then they’re going to ride all day in Livermore and that’s why I say someone is going to have a chance to maybe mess up the finish on that. If there’s a team that is tired and maybe losing steam a little bit, they’re thinking about tempoing it a little bit better and then they realize hey that’s a steep hill, we’re not going to get him now and they cut it. And breakaway wins and someone else has the lead.”
Once again, it should be a beautiful day. Forecast calls for partly cloudy skies, with highs of 78°F with winds at 13 mph.
Stage 3 (San Jose to Livermore) details:
- Length: 115.3 miles (185.5 km)
- Start time: 11:15 am PDT
- Finish time (ETA): 3:24 pm – 4:32 pm PDT
- Neutral section: 1.3 miles (2 km)
- Time bonus of 10, 6 & 4 seconds
- Sprint points of 15, 12, 10, 7, 6, 5,4, 3, 2, 1 points
- 1 Intermediate sprint for time bonus (3, 2, 1 seconds) and points (5, 3, 1 pts)
- In Livermore (mile 28.3)
- 3 KOMs
- cat 4 on Calaveras Road (mile 52)
- cat 2 on Mt Diablo (mile 54.3)
- cat 3 Patterson Pass (mile 105.9)