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Bicycle Racing News and Opinion:
Saturday, October 24, 2015

Back to news and opinion index page for links to archived stories | Commentary

Gent-Wevelgem will have 7 races in one day

If you want a lot of racing in one day, mark Sunday, March 27, 2016, on your calender. The Belgian classic Gent-Wevelgem will have up to 1,000 racers on the line that day: elite men, elite women, amateurs, juniors, novices, women juniors, women debutantes.

Here's the video from the promoter:

Gent-Wevelgem video

Bora-Argon 18 manager looks at 2016 Tour de France route

This Q & A from the team:

Ralph Denk took part at the presentation of the 2016 Tour de France in Paris on Tuesday. After the initial analysis of the route, we have spoken with the Bora-Argon 18 team manager about his impressions and objectives for the coming year. The participation in the Tour de France is also the main objective of the team in the next year.

Q: The team rode the Tour de France in 2014 and in 2015. Is the biggest cycling race in the world also in the planning for next year?

A: After the two successful participations in the Tour de France, it is also our main goal in 2016 to ride the Tour. I would be very happy if the organizers consider us again with a wildcard, so we could start again. Next year, the best German-speaking stage race talents will ride in the jersey of Bora-Argon 18. I'm sure that the ASO would also strengthen the noticeable upward trend of cycling in Germany with an invitation.

Q: The route of the 103rd Tour edition was presented on Tuesday. What is your first impression?

A: In my opinion, the route of 2016 is just great. I can only take my hat off to the Tour planners. It speaks for the organizer that they find new routes again and again and that the cities have so much interest in the Tour. It's great for our sport to face new, unknown challenges. And of course we are especially excited because the route fits us very well as a team.

Q: In your opinion what are the challenges of the route?

A: The first stages are always a particular challenge for all teams. The start of the tour takes you along the coast. So, the wind will add to what is a nervous race anyway. Unlike this year we have to get through there without crashing. A special feature is certainly the mountain time trial, in which the best climbers will fight for positions.

Q: This year, there was only one proper mass sprint in the Tour’s first part. Has this changed in 2016?

A: At first impression, the overall profile favors the climbers, but if you look at it stage by stage, there are many opportunities for sprinters like Sam. There are also a few typical transfer stages, which also suits us very well. Overall, I see up to six possible sprints.

Q: In the last two years, the team excelled with great performances mainly at the mountain stages. How do you assess them in the 2016 route?

A: We are a stage race team and last year we saw with Emanuel Buchmann on the Tourmalet stage that our riders fight at quite a high performance level. And next year I see even more options for our team. The featured mountain finishes all suit our climbers. But especially I would highlight the stage from Andorra to Arcalis and the Mont Ventoux one.

Emmanuel Buchmann in 2015  Tour stage 11

Emanuel Buchmann in 2015 Tour stage 11

2016 Tour of California route presented

Here's the organizer's news (map of 2016 edition is below the race text):

SAN DIEGO, Calif. (Oct. 22, 2015) - The 2016 Amgen Tour of California, presented by AEG, will kick off this spring in the heart of San Diego for the first time in its 11-year history and conclude in Sacramento, the first time the state capital will host the overall race finish. Competing across nearly 800 miles of quintessential California terrain from May 15-22, the course will lead World Champions, Olympic Medalists, top Tour de France competitors and other elite professional cyclists south to north for only the second time since the race began in 2006, with 12 cities to host starts and finishes along the way.

In addition to the men's event, top professional women cyclists from around the world will converge during the latter half of the race to compete in the Amgen Tour of California Women's Race empowered with SRAM, the most expansive women's event in race history. The race will be the first U.S. event on the first-ever UCI Women's WorldTour (WWT).

"Each edition of the Amgen Tour of California is more challenging and more beautiful than the last, and I'm excited to say that this year will be no exception," said Kristin Klein, president of the Amgen Tour of California and executive vice president of AEG Sports. "With one of the longer courses in race history packed with iconic and fan- favorite locations, the highest caliber of racing on U.S. soil and four days of women's racing, the worldwide audience the Amgen Tour of California continues to attract has something special to look forward to with the 2016 edition."

The Amgen Tour of California is regarded as the most internationally respected and esteemed stage race in the U.S. and one of the largest sporting events in the country.

"The Amgen Tour of California brings the perfect combination of stellar competition, amazing scenery and superior organization," said Bradley Wiggins, the 2014 Amgen Tour of California Champion. "I look forward to returning to the Amgen Tour of California with Team Wiggins to once again take on the top competitors in the sport."

"The Amgen Tour of California is an important race on the world cycling calendar because it attracts the best in the sport," said long-time professional cyclist Jens Voigt, who will be returning as an Amgen Tour of California Ambassador for the second year. "It's always a thrill to race (and cheer on the race) in such a beautiful place as California, and I'm proud to continue my role with the race. The outpouring of fans really makes it one of the best sporting experiences in the world."

Stage 1 - San Diego, May 15, 2016
The Amgen Tour of California has entered North San Diego County twice before, but for the first time, the race will reach the heart of the city with Stage 1's start and finish on the water near Mission Bay and downtown San Diego.

Stage 2 - South Pasadena to Santa Clarita, May 16, 2016
Stage 2 will begin in first-time Host City South Pasadena, with much of the race contested in the Angeles National Forest, ending with the stage conclusion in veteran Host City Santa Clarita. Of the 2016 lineup, Santa Clarita has the distinction of having hosted the most stages (11).

Stage 3 - Thousand Oaks to Santa Barbara County, May 17, 2016
As well as serving as a popular training ground for professional and weekend cyclists alike, Thousand Oaks is home to biotechnology company Amgen, the race's title sponsor since its inception. The day will conclude with a thrilling, first-time mountaintop finish at Gibraltar Road that has been 11 years in the making (road conditions precluded the oft-requested finish until this year).

Stage 4 - Morro Bay to Monterey County, May 18, 2016
Racing on Highway 1 south to north, this stage will highlight two first-time hosts this year, Morro Bay and Monterey County. The riveting and technical race day conclusion will be at a venue known for speed - the Laguna Seca Recreation Area, host to auto and motorcycle racing at the highest level.

Stage 5 - Lodi to South Lake Tahoe, May 19, 2016
From here out, the four-day women's race will run in conjunction with the men's, including the same start and finish cities except for this day, when the women begin and end in South Lake Tahoe. Lodi welcomed the 2015 Amgen Tour of California and is back for a second round with a men's stage start this year. South Lake Tahoe hosted a successful two days of the Amgen Tour of California Women's Race last year, and this will be the first of the four-day women's race. Featuring a long day of climbing, the stage will reach the highest elevation ever mounted by the race: 8,600 feet.

Stage 6 - Folsom Individual Time Trial & Women's Team Time Trial, May 20, 2016
The men's individual time trial returns to Folsom where Team Sky's Bradley Wiggins dominated en route to his 2014 overall Amgen Tour of California victory. The women will compete in a team time trial on the same course.

Stage 7 - Santa Rosa, May 21, 2016
In 2006, the world took notice as record crowds flooded downtown to watch the race roar into Santa Rosa for a spectacular finish. This year's stage will incorporate a portion of the uber popular Levi's GranFondo, with the men and women competing on different courses.

Stage 8 - Sacramento, May 22, 2016
As an 8-time host, Sacramento has seen some of the most exciting stages and race moments, and will up the ante for 2016 with the grand finale of both the men's and women's races for the first time.

Tour of California map

2016 Tour of California map

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