The 2011 Amgen Tour of California reaches its penultimate stage as the riders face one of the toughest climbs in American cycling. If Chris Horner is going to win the race, he'll have to put together a strong effort in his attempt to ride up Mount Baldy, which will include a 1,000 foot climb over a mere three miles. The 75.8 mile stage starts at 11:45am pacific time and is expected to finish sometime between 3:21pm and 3:43pm. You can view a map of the scheduled route in THIS PDF at the tour website.
Stage 7 begins in Claremont with two neutral circuits in Claremont to get the rider's ready for the day's first climb. 3.5 miles from the start, the riders will face an eight mile climb to the Village of Baldy and their first King of the Mountain (KOM). They'll make a quick left turn at the summit and then climb a mile up Glendora Ridge Road. After 12 miles of narrow, twisting roads the riders descend down the backside of Glendora Mountain Road, then down East Fork and to the town of Azusa. Heading east, the race dips into the City of Glendora for the only sprint of the day.
The next KOM is a nine mile climb that is followed by 12 miles of a slight climb back to Baldy Village. This is followed by a left turn back onto Baldy Road and then a 1,000 foot climb in just three miles. At Ice House Canyon, the route makes a hard left turn and over the next 2.5 miles, the riders will face 10 switchbacks on a road that is so steep that many of the race vehicles won't make it to the top. At 1.2 miles to go, the road straightens out. At a quarter mile to go, the route makes a hard left and the racers face a final five switchbacks to the finish line.
It's safe to say that riders will sleep quite well following this stage. Overall leader Chris Horner has fared well in the mountains, but this is definitely unlike anything else in the 2011 Tour of California. Although there will be one
We'll have more race updates in our 2011 Tour of California story stream, and you can find more in-depth discussion of each stage at Podium Cafe.