I was behind the wheel today filming a group of riders following the 4th stage of the TOC. Stage starts out dead flat and goes east to the mountains. Climbing starts at mile 20 and continues to mile 70. There is the fiirst climb that goes up to 2100 feet but over a long distance so not too bad. Then the fun starts....a 10 minute climb followed by three 15min climbs back to back, a descent and a 30 minute climb. Then a monster descent and 25 flat miles to the finish. Even though it was around 10,000 feet of climbing, the long 25 mile flat finish will give the sprinters a chance to get back into the race. So, here is the way I see the race so far.
Prolog = Dave Z or Sven Tuft
Stage 1= attack on the last 1.5 mile climb, a handfull of guys get away on the fast tricky descent and the break sticks to the line.
Stage 2 = Tanitas creek softens them up. Bonny Dune crushes them and a handfull of the real GC guys hold on to the line.
Stage 3 = Sierra climb is too soon and over by mile 10. Patterson pass is not hard enough so this stage goes to the sprinters.
Stage 4 = Hard! Up and down all day. But, the sprinters have a great chance to latch back on over the last 45 miles of descent and flat to the line.
Stage 5 = Flat to rolling. Interesting stage....could be the easiast or hardest stage depending on the wind. If the wind is strong on race day, this course is living hell. I have almost flipped my truck and trailer through this section....yes, the wind is that bad.
Stage 6: TT Please remove the "pain part of your brain" prior to the start and ride like you stole it.
Stage 7: Recon tomorrow!