Amgen Tour of California Tahoe Stage 1 may face snow challenge
Amgen Tour of California officials say they should have a decision by 9 a.m. as to what they intend to do about the Stage 1 kick-off set to begin at South Lake Tahoe given that snow is expected in the Sierra through the morning.
Race organizers, the commissaires, teams and public safety organizations have developed a number of contingency plans with the safety of the riders and fans being the number one priority, said Andrew Messick, President of AEG Sports, and presenter of the Amgen Tour of California.
The National Weather Service in Reno has issued a winter weather advisory for Lake Tahoe and the Sierra, with the bulk of the snow hitting the area before 11 a.m. Two to 4 inches of snow is expected at lake level, with 3 to 6 inches above 7,000 feet, according to the weather service. The snow should taper to showers after 11 a.m.
"The weather is constantly changing in the Sierra, and our team will be assessing weather conditions throughout the morning. A decision on any changes to the route and timing will be made at 9 a.m. and will ultimately be based on what is best and most safe for our riders and spectators," he said in a press statement. South Lake Tahoe radio station KTHO will be on-air through the morning and afternoon with live reporting. Click here for the best places to view the tour during the Tahoe stages.
Despite the weather and the Highway 50 over Echo Summit detour, organizers of the Tahoe part of the event have put forth a valiant effort to welcome riders and visitors, with a number of events, banquets and presentations.
Given the worldwide attention paid to the race, Lake Tahoe has stuck to its fundamentals which has been to showcase the region as a serious home to professional athletic competition and training. The elevation and altitude gains alone make for a climate that supports athletic winter and summer sports training, including many Olympic athletes.
“Whether it’s skinny or fat tires, Tahoe is a passionate biking community,” said Carol Chaplin, executive director of the Lake Tahoe Visitors Authority. “Hosting the Amgen Tour of California, the country’s most prestigious bike race, will put us on the map as ‘must ride’ for cyclists while having a significant impact on the local and regional economy.”
“There is nothing quite like riding at elevation — 6,300 feet,” said Andy Chapman, tourism director of the North Lake Tahoe Resort Association. “These cyclists are going to be pushing the envelope as they make their way up and down mountain passes and not once but twice around the national treasure of Emerald Bay State Park for a grand finish at Northstar-at-Tahoe Resort. Equally spectacular will be the Stage 2 Start at Squaw Valley USA with Tahoe’s famed granite peaks making for an unforgettable backdrop.”
Considered the largest cycling race in North America, the 2011 Amgen Tour of California will cover nearly 800 miles over eight days and feature 18 of the world’s top professional cycling teams. Traversing some of the state’s most picturesque highways and coastlines, the sixth-annual race kicks off at MontBleu Resort Casino & Spa today at 10:30, weather permitting and tomorrow at Squaw Valley USA to Truckee. The race will continue on to 15 host cities through May 22. Click here for the list of teams.
If all goes as planned and the snow doesn't stick, here's what the schedule looks like:
Today – Stage 1
The Stage 1 2011 Amgen Tour of California around Lake Tahoe will be assisted by the South Lake Tahoe Police Department, in conjunction with the California Highway Patrol (CHP) and El Dorado County Sheriff’s office.
In support of this event, Highway 50, (Lake Tahoe Boulevard) and State Route 89 (Emerald Bay Road) north of the “Y” will be closed to all vehicular traffic from 10:10 a.m. to approximately 10:45 a.m. for lap one. It will again close at approximately 12:45 p.m. and re-open at approximately 1:15 p.m. for lap two. The timing for the second closure can vary greatly depending on the speed of the race and how spread apart the riders get for their second stint through the city.
For times when the tour will pass a street or road in South Shore click here.Officials suggest providing at least a 30-minute window on each side of the time listed. All times are approximate.
In North Lake Tahoe, the CHP is handling the rolling road closures on both the California and Nevada sides of the lake. Based on the Race Day Map, motorists can expect Highway 28 to be closed approximately 11:20 to 11:55 a.m. at the Tahoe City Y during lap one and between 2:20 to 2:55 p.m. during lap two. In Kings Beach, it’s 11:45 a.m. to 12:20 p.m. for lap one and 2:45 to 3:20 p.m. for lap two, as well as noon to 12:35 p.m. in Incline Village.
Monday, May 16 – Stage 2
On Monday, May 16, the Amgen Tour of California will be coming from Squaw Valley USA through Truckee. The Truckee Police Department, in conjunction with the California Highway Patrol, will be providing traffic control for this event while it is in the Town of Truckee.
The event will enter Town limits on State Route 89 (SR-89) from Squaw Valley. It will continue northbound on SR-89 to Donner Pass Road, make a left turn onto westbound Donner Pass Road and continue on Donner Pass Road along Donner Lake, up to Old US-40 and the Donner Summit area.
Road closures will be of a short duration as the cyclists pass major intersections and should start about 9:50 a.m. on SR-89 and West River Street, and at about 10 a.m. at SR-89 and Donner Pass Road, progressing westbound on Donner Pass Road to the Donner Lake area and finally exiting Town limits by 10:30 a.m. Motorists can expect delays of up to 20 minutes at each of the major intersections. CHP officers will accompany the cyclists on motorcycles.
Motorists are urged to drive with caution and follow directions of the South Lake Tahoe Police Department, El Dorado County Sheriff, Truckee Police Department and CHP officers, as well as race officials as the race passes by. Times for the Amgen Tour of California race are approximate, based on average speeds of the peloton and are subject to change.
For a complete calendar of Tahoe’s 10-Day Countown, events leading up to the race (May 5-14), as well as activities during Stage 1 (May 15) and Stage 2 (May 16), click here.
Lake Tahoe is recognized for several annual summer biking events. America’s Most Beautiful Bike Ride has participants circumnavigate the Lake the first weekend in June. Another chance to circle Tahoe’s 72-mile shoreline is during the annual Tour de Tahoe Bike Big Blue Race in mid-September. Late September brings the Tahoe Century Ride, which starts and finishes at Squaw Valley and features scenic routes and challenging hill climbs.
The annual Lake Tahoe Marathon Week offers a bike race around Tahoe’s shoreline the end of September. Furthermore, the annual Death Ride course covers five High Sierra passes that includes both sides of Monitor and Ebbetts Pass, Carson Pass and Turtle Rock Park, north of Markleeville. Tour de Nez offers significant professional stage races in the country taking place in Nevada and California; the cities of Reno and Truckee, along the shores of Lake Tahoe, and up the mountains surrounding the resort at Northstar-at-Tahoe every June.