What is this picture does not fit? That would be me!!! Robert Nicholes (x european pro) Rubens and I recon'd the 3rd stage of the Tour of Cal on Tuesday. The picture is at the base of the first of three climbs. We put in 140 k of hard riding. The race for General Classification comes down to the 9k Mt Hamilton portion of stage 3. It goes something like this. First climb = 45 minutes of 2% to 4% climbing with a 1 mile steep kicker at the top. It's not long enough to break up the group but will start to soften up the legs a bit. Then rolling roads with a 1k steep section followed by more rollers to the base of Mt Hamilton. Mt Hamilton is 9k of steep climbing. Rubens feels it is long enough to crack all riders save for a small group of 10 to 15. Once over the top of Mt Hamilton, there is a 10 mile descent that leads directly into the very difficult Sierra Grade climb. Sierra grade should further shrink the field to less than five. The Tour will be over for many GC hopefuls on stage 3.
As for Rubens, He will try to make the front group over Mt hamilton but no promises. By the way, Rubens was 4th overall at Tour of Georgia in 07 and wore the yellow jersey for a couple days at the Tour de France in 05.