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2011 Tour Of California: Stage One Preview

The 2011 Amgen Tour of California kicks off Sunday morning with Stage One starting on South Lake Tahoe. The first stage lasts 118.7 miles and takes the riders all the way to Northstar on the north side of Lake Tahoe. You can view a PDF map of the first stage to get an idea of how they'll make their way around Lake Tahoe on Sunday.

Stage one sends the riders through South Lake Tahoe and in a clockwise direction up the western shore of Lake Tahoe. At this point the riders will hit the first of three significant climbs on this stage at Emerald Bay, with an elevation of 6,850 feet. The race will continue north and descend into Tahoe City while working its way through the small towns on the north shore and past the casinos in Stateline, Nevada.

The race will then continue along the shoreline on Lakeshore Blvd. finally connecting with Hwy. 28 to make the return trip to South Lake Tahoe. The race will actually head outside of California for 27 miles, which is a first for the race. The race will then pass through South Lake Tahoe and head back north for another half lap around the lake. At King's Beach on the north shore of the lake, the racers will make a left turn on Hwy. 267 and start the final run to the finish, which includes a 1,000' climb to Brockway Summit. They will quickly descend and turn left onto Northstar Dr. The cyclists will face the final 300' of climbing up the 1.5-mile route to the finish in North Lake Tahoe at the Northstar at Tahoe Resort.

This whole setting should be particularly interesting because weather predictions indicate cold weather with a significant chance of snow showers. I can't imagine that will make for fun biking through Lake Tahoe.

We'll be back with results after the completion of the first stage. And make sure and check back throughout the week for previews of each stage and results throughout the race as the 18 teams look to win the 2011 Tour of California.