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2017 Amgen Tour of California, May 14-20, WT

While all the road cycling fans are focused mainly on the Giro, another stage race (newly promoted to the WT level) begins on Sunday on the other side of the pond. Ladies and gentlemen, here it comes : Amgen Tour of California.

This year, the organizers propose three flat (or flattish) stages, two medium mountain stages, one MTF and one ITT.

Stage 1: Sacramento – Sacramento, 167 km

amgen-tour-of-california-2017-stage-1-1494332364.jpg

Flat stage ending with a several short laps in the city centre. Narrow turns and short straights should not prevent a bunch sprint.

Stage 2 : Modesto – San Jose, 143 km

amgen-tour-of-california-2017-stage-2-1494332382.jpg

Medium mountain stage, involving a couple of short sharp climbs and one « real » mountain in the mid-section of the race. Uphill finale should add some entertainment for the spectators. Good opportunity for the puncheurs and strong sprinters which would survive all the climbing earlier during the day.

Stage 3 : Pismo Beach – Morro Beach, 186 km

Flat stage, bunch sprint.

Stage 4 : Santa Barbara – Santa Clarita, 159 km

amgen-tour-of-california-2017-stage-4-1494332508.jpg

A 40 kilometres long gentle uphill drag to the finish line following a couple of short and rather easy climbs. Sprinters should have another opportunity.

Stage 5 : Ontario – Mount Baldy, 125 km

amgen-tour-of-california-2017-stage-5-1494332582.jpg

The only proper mountain stage and the only MTF of the race. Not too hard, though : two first climbs are either not very long or not very steep, so the battle should take place on the final difficulty of the day. The only opportunity to gain some time for these GC contenders which does not feel very well in the TT (coming on the next day).

Stage 6 : Big Bear Lake, 24 km ITT

amgen-tour-of-california-2017-stage-6-1494332613.jpg

Something you will never see in the Europe : a pancake flat ITT at the altitude of 2000+ metres. Not too short and not too long, should be a stage win opportunity for a pure TT specialist.

Stage 7 : Mountain High Ski Area – Pasadena, 124 km

amgen-tour-of-california-2017-stage-7-1494332680.jpg

Looking on the profile, the final stage looks like a classic MTF stage – just ridden in an opposite direction. It begins with a 25 kilometres long descent, then traverses a couple of medium-sized mountains and hills, and finally descends again to the finish location. Bunch sprint most likely.

Participating teams : 12 WT teams, 3 PCT teams, 2 CT teams.
NOT participating : Ag2R, Bahrain, FDJ, Lotto-Soudal, Movistar, Orica.

Astana (Breschel)
BMC (Sanchez, Bookwalter, Drucker)
Bora (Sagan, Majka)
Cannondale (Talansky, Phinney, Craddock)
Cofidis (van Genechten)
Dimension Data (Renshaw)
Jelly Belly (Tvetcov)
Katusha (Kristoff, Machado)
LottoNL (Gesink, Bennett)
Novo Nordisk
QuickStep (Kittel, de la Cruz)
Rally
Sky (Geoghegan Hart, Kennaugh, Lopez, Viviani)
Sunweb (Oomen)
Trek (Degenkolb, Zubeldia)
United Healthcare (Acevedo)
UAE (Durasek, Guardini)

Generally, a big pack of top (Degenkolb, Kittel, Kristoff, Sagan), first- and second tier sprinters. On the other hand – not too much climbers and usual GC suspects.

Full startlist available here :
http://www.procyclingstats.com/race/Amgen_Tour_of_California_2017_Startlist
 
Jun 30, 2014
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Last year they did a few things right, a pretty good MTF, the Laguna Seca stage was fun and the Lake Tahoe stage wasn't too bad and something different because of the altitude, it was a step in the right direction.
This year however the route is rather generic.
 
Given the form he showed in the Tour of the Alps and in the Tour of Yorkshire has Bookwalter a chance to win the overall?
Talansky dropped out of the Basque Country because of illness and his form is uncertain,Majka and Gesink aren't time trialists and a 24 km pan flat ITT doesn't suit them at all. George Bennett too.
Interested to see what Oomen can do after a good spring.
 
Re:

Jspear said:
This race is generally on the boring side. The one thing they know how to do is give a good online stream.
Hmmm. Cable TV coverage thru NBCSN was pretty crappy though. Any time they approached anything that resembled a hill, the TV cut out. And helicopter coverage wasn't used that much. And, I thought they got all of their views from the same TV cameras. To me, that's pretty much been the way it has been covered for the last 3 or 4 years.
 
Re:

ThePirate81 said:
Given the form he showed in the Tour of the Alps and in the Tour of Yorkshire has Bookwalter a chance to win the overall?
Talansky dropped out of the Basque Country because of illness and his form is uncertain,Majka and Gesink aren't time trialists and a 24 km pan flat ITT doesn't suit them at all. George Bennett too.
Interested to see what Oomen can do after a good spring.

IMO he has a very fair chance of winning it. He seems to be stronger this year than he was last year and then he was able to place 3rd....also because of what you've already stated. The GC list is just weak.