The 2011 Amgen Tour of California wraps up its sixth run with a 129.1 mile that includes a short but steep King of the Mountain (KOM) climb. Chris Horner heads into the stage with a :38 second lead on teammate Levi Leipheimer and a more sizable lead over the rest of the peloton. If the two Radio Shack cyclists have a solid lead on the rest of the pack (for overall lead purposes), one has to wonder whether this victory is being packaged for Horner, or if Leipheimer will challenge him in the closing miles for the race victory.
Stage 8 begins in Santa Clarita at noon pacific and the riders are expected to cross the finish line in Thousand Oaks between 3:12 and 3:28pm. You can view a map of the scheduled route in THIS PDF at the tour website. Leaving Santa Clarita, the race will head out on a flat 13 mile stretch of Hwy 126. The riders will then head towards the coast and to the base of the final KOM of the race, Balcolm Canyon. The climb up Balcolm Canyon is not as high as earlier climbs, but it is over a short distance, thus making it incredibly steep.
After cresting the summit, the race will head through Moorpark and up the final climb on the Norwegian Grade. The route then heads downhill and enters the final four-mile circuit. The cyclists will pass the finish line in Thousand Oaks and begins the first of five flat and fast circuits to close out the 2011 Tour of California.