Tour of California to visit San Jose

Cyclists in the 2009 Tour of California

The starting line of 2009's Tour of California stage 3 near downtown San Jose.

Following close in the slipstream of Bike to Work Day, the Amgen Tour of California bike race will once again visit San Jose next week. Wednesday’s stage 4 will be a mountain finish on Sierra Road, technically within San Jose city limits, rather than the downtown location that’s been used for stage starts in a couple of past tours.

Aside from moving the San Jose site outside the core of the city, there are a few other changes for the tour route this year. Instead of an opening day time trial, the tour will start tomorrow with a regular road stage on a mountainous route from South Lake Tahoe, making 1-1/2 laps around the lake and ending at Northstar on the lake’s north shore. Previous northern California stage sites like Davis and Santa Rosa will be bypassed, though the tour will still visit Sacramento, Livermore, and Modesto before hopping south to Seaside to begin its four final days in the southern half of the state. As in years past, the tour will finish in sponsor Amgen’s home city of Thousand Oaks, in Ventura County, on Sunday, May 22.

Wednesday’s stage 4 begins just before noon in Livermore and wends through the hills to the east of us before coming to San Jose sometime around 3 pm. The tour includes two major climbs, the hors catagorie backside of Mount Hamilton, and the final class 1 climb up Sierra Road to the finish, 3-1/2 miles at grades topping 9%.

Having a mountain finish in San Jose will add some great excitement to our spot in the tour, although it will also take quite a bit more dedication for spectators to get to a place on the course than it has in the past.

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