The Tour of California's upgrade from 2.1 to 2.HC status owes much to the newly designed course for stage three from Modesto to San Jose.
The 152km long journey might seem relatively short in distance, but with three monstrous climbs, the race will be anything but pedestrian. After passing through Patterson, the cyclists will encounter a 26-mile section full of twists and turns with constant climbing will take the riders past the rugged beauty of the Frank Raines Regional Park, leading to a relentless climb over the backside of Mt. Hamilton.
With an elevation of 4,360 feet, Mt. Hamilton will be one of the highest elevations ever reached in the Amgen Tour of California, and in February the course could very well be above the snow line if the weather is bad. The descent off Mt. Hamilton will bring the riders back around to the traditional route into San Jose, via the daunting Sierra Road climb. What few riders remain in the front group will have some time to regain their composure on the long 30km run in to the finish line in San Jose.