The race of truth today at the Amgen Tour of California – the time trial. One rider, one bike and a clock. That’s it. And the 18.4-mile (29.7 km) course is definitely for the specialists.
The time trial course reprises many of the roads of the finishing circuit at the end of the 2010 Amgen Tour of California’s Stage 5, a stage won by Peter Sagan (Liquigas-Cannondale)
“Everyone thinks about the huge headwall to the finish line.” Ben Jacques-Maynes (Bissell) commented. Two days prior to the start of the seventh edition of the event, Northern California native Jacques-Maynes shared his insights on the stages
Right from the start, the riders will go from zero to nearly 60 mph in a matter of seconds. An immediate descent to Alfred Harrel Highway from the start gate to a straight – but not exactly flat – route to the turnaround point at Lake Ming. The route is full of 100-foot rollers, and as the riders approach the finish, they’ll be able to see it, up on the 300-foot bluff – China Grade, which presents an eight percent climb to the top. The a hard left but it won’t be over there, the riders will still face a slightly uphill, .44-mile run to the finish.
“You start and it’s almost like starting a corkscrew, you’re going 70 km/h pretty much straight out of the bat, straight down the hill, you’re at maximum velocity before your heart rate is even up. And then the rollers, are just big power rollers and who can get over the top and carry their speed, it’s real time trial technique.” Jacques-Maynes explained.
Riders have to always keep in mind that wall at the finish. “We did that finishing circuit, it’s probably about the same, the profile make it look the same, big rollers, and you could lose 20 seconds on that headwall if you dug too deep, you really have to save something. You have to keep it in your mind, if you really digging in, you have to back it out a little bit in those last five kilometers to be able to catch your breath a little bit.”
The heat and wind will be another factor to take into consideration. “It’s borderline desert out there. People are going to be getting tired, it’s desolate, there is no wind coverage. You can have strong winds coming out of the east, out of the desert or going into the desert,it’s right on that verge of just dust bowl, almost.” Jacques-Maynes concluded.
The forecast calls for highs of 94F with winds at 5 to 10 mph increasing to 20 to 30 mph.
Starting at 1 pm PDT, riders will go start every minute with the final 16 riders starting every two minutes. Prior to the men, 10 elite women will race in the Second Annual Amgen Tour of California Women’s Time Trial Invitational, starting at 11 am PDT. (See men’s start list)
Stage 5 (Bakersfield) details:
- Length: 18.4 miles (29.7 km)
- Start time: 1:00 pm PDT
- no KOMs
- no intermediate sprints