The Queen Stage. This is it, this is the stage where the overall winner of the Amgen Tour of California will be decided with three tough KOMs.
“if you’re racing up there, you’re prepared, you’re there for a reason. If you’re fit enough to be in the front group, it’s the micromanagement and that half a percent difference is going to be how you get in between the winners and the losers.” Ben Jacques-Maynes (Bissell) said of the stage.
Two days prior to the start of the seventh edition of the event, Northern California native Jacques-Maynes shared his insights with podiuminsight on the stages.
Just a few miles from the start in Ontario, the riders will start a 13-mile climb to the Village of Baldy. An acute left takes them to one more mile of climbing up Glendora Ridge Road to the first of three KOMs. From there, 12 miles of narrow and twisting roads that gradually descend to a fast and technical descent down the backside of Glendora Mountain Road. Another descent down East Fork will take the riders to Highway 39 and the town of Azusa.The course then heads east through the City of Glendora for the only sprint of the day.
A left turn onto Glendora Mountain Road and it will be game on. The next KOM will be a nine-mile climb, followed by 12 miles of a slight climb back to Baldy Village. A left turn back onto Baldy Road will see the race gain 1,000 feet in just three miles. At Ice House Canyon, the route will make a hard left turn. Over the next 2.5 miles, the riders will face 10 switchbacks. With 1.2 miles to go, the road straightens out until the final quarter mile with its five switchbacks to the finish line.
“You start in Ontario, climb Baldy up to the village, and this is the narrow super twisty one-laner.” explained Jacques-Maynes. Then a significant drop followed by the climb to the Glendora Ridge Rd KOM. The course continues to seesaw. “Then flat for a bit, up and down and then fast descent. I guess there’s a bit of a climb up and then a fast descent and then slow descent on the lake side.”
And then the Glendora Mt Road climb. “This is the San Dimas hillclimb. We’ve seen this, it’s very steady, it will be fast, it will be over quickly, probably from Glendora to the KOM, under 20 minutes. We raced two-thirds of the way up it in maybe 14 minutes, it’s not much further past that and I figure that the pace will be on. From Glendora up, there’s not much chance for recovery. You do this in 20 minutes and then you do this (next section) in 20 minutes, and then this in another 40 minutes and then you do this in 20 minutes and I just talked about 2.5 hours of constant racing uphill.”
The hard racing from the previous days will take its toll. “There’s no respite so that’s going to be people’s micromanagement of their energy throughout the week If you’re outside moving up in the group all week, it’s going to bite you in the ass come the final up Baldy. If you have tired legs and you’re thinking you’ve giving it everything, you could have done more.”
He expects the attacks to come earlier this year. “Because last year when we did it it was the first time. Every time on a first year course people are like let’s see how it goes, let’s see how the pacing is like. Now people know, people are prepared, people have done extra climbing, people have done their altitude climbing, their highway-grade climbs, and they’re thinking about Mt Baldy. So you’ll see a lot more people. Because of that the guy that’s going to win is going to have to be more aggressive, and be more on top of his game, go earlier, go harder, go stronger, go more times in order to get away.”
“Anywhere up Glendora Road, it’s going to be hard, plenty of room to whittle it down and then launch one good attack, two good attacks. I think it will happen there. ” added Jacques-Maynes who watched last year’s stage from home after getting surgery from a broken collarbone sustained on stage 5.
It’s going to be another hot day of racing, with full sun and forecasted highs in the 80s F
In 2010, Radioshack went 1-2 with Levi Leipheimer taking the win ahead of Chris Horner. Horner won the overall.
Stage 7 (Ontario to Mt Baldy) details:
- Length: 78.3 miles (126.0 km)
- Start time: 12:00 pm PDT (noon)
- Finish time (ETA): 3:17 pm – 3:56 pm PDT
- Neutral section: 1.0 mile (1.5 km)
- Finish: no time bonus. no sprint points
- 1 Intermediate sprint for time bonus (3, 2, 1 seconds) and points (5, 3, 1 pts)
- In Glendora (mile 51.0)
- 3 KOMs
- cat 2 on Glendora Ridge Road (mile 16.5)
- cat 2 on Glendora Mountain Road (mile 60.9)
- cat HC at the finish on Mt Baldy (mile 78.3)