Amateurs get chance to ride Tour of California stage

Are you up to the challenge of L’Etape du California?

You may have heard of the Etape du Tour, where amateur riders get the chance to ride an official Tour de France stage just like the pros and suffer what their heroes do for a day. Well, in a similar vein, the presenters of the Amgen Tour of California, AEG, are partnering with Pacific Sports to hold L’Etape du California next year.

The event takes place on 7 May 2011, eight days before the pros begin the Tour of California. It will cover the route of stage 7, from Claremont to Mt Baldy, full details of which have yet to be announced.

What we do know is that the organisers consider the stage to be “arguably one of the toughest in the race”. We’ve also been informed that the route is astonishingly beautiful, taking in some iconic sections of road in the San Gabriel mountains. These will include Glendora Mountain Road, Glendora Ridge Road and the switchbacks up to the Mt Baldy Ski Area.

So at least participants will have something to look at while they sweat their way across the golden state! They’re expected to climb 10,000 vertical feet and cover 100 miles by the time they hit the finish.

The event is expected to be popular: “As interest in professional cycling continues to gain momentum in the US, we’ve seen an increasing number of people who want to ride parts of the Amgen Tour of California route,” says Andrew Messick, president of AEG Sports. “We’re thrilled to bring this amazing experience to the masses through L’Etape du California. It'll be an extremely challenging event for the amateur cyclists, requiring a high level of fitness and mental endurance.”

More details are likely to be revealed when the route of the pro event is announced in January. Until then, you can whet your appetite at www.amgentourofcalifornia.com.

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