Stage Five Route Announced for 2012 Amgen Tour of California
BAKERSFIELD, Calif (February 8, 2012) - The Bakersfield Sports Foundation, in conjunction with AEG Sports, today unveiled the race route for Stage Five of the 2012 Amgen Tour of California. In 2010, Bakersfield hosted the Stage Five finish as riders climbed the grueling Panorama bluffs not once, but three times as they raced to the finish line. This year, the Individual Time Trial starts at that same spot, ensuring a challenging and memorable course that celebrates the unique geography carved by the scenic and wild Kern River.
"This route is exactly what we wanted for our Individual Time Trial," said Bakersfield Sports Foundation President Kerry Ryan. "The terrain of this course is unique, challenging, and one for the record books. Riders and fans will never forget it."
The finishing circuit at the end of the 2010 Amgen Tour of California's Stage 5 in Bakersfield was a gut-wrenching fan favorite, so it was only natural to return to the scene and turn that circuit into an 18.4 mile Individual Time Trial course.
Right from the start, the riders will go from zero to nearly 60 mph in a matter of seconds. The start ramp will launch them onto an immediate descent to Alfred Harrell Highway. From there, it will be a direct - but not exactly flat - route to the turnaround point at Lake Ming.
There will not be much in the way of flat roadway to catch your breath. The route is full of 100-foot rollers, and as the riders approach the finish, they'll be able to see it... up on a 300-foot bluff. The prepared rider will have saved a little for China Grade, which presents an eight percent climb to the top and then a hard left, and it won't be over there. The riders will still face a slightly uphill, .44-mile run to the finish.
A crowd of more than 10,000 lined Panorama Drive for the Stage Five Finish in 2010 and double that is anticipated in 2012. "Bakersfield's central location means big crowds for the Individual Time Trial," said David Lyman, Manager of the Bakersfield Convention & Visitors Bureau. "Also, no Central Coast city has a tour stop this year, so both the race and our local business should see lots of visitors."