Livermore-To-San Jose Leg Marks Amgen Tour’s First Big Challenge

SAN JOSE (KCBS) – Cyclists competing in the Amgen Tour of California will mark a halfway point when they reach the race’s first-ever mountaintop finish in San Jose Wednesday afternoon.

The fourth stage of the tour left downtown Livermore shortly before noon Wednesday and was set to finish on a summit of Sierra Road in San Jose between 3:15 and 3:45 in the afternoon.

This 82-mile segment takes the cyclists through three grueling climbs, including the backside of Mount Hamilton and Sierra Road.

KCBS’ Matt Bigler Reports:

Officials estimated that there would be 30,000 people watching along the route from Livermore to San Jose.

>>Photos: 2011 Amgen Tour of California

This is the first time that San Jose has had a finish line in the annual bike race, something local leaders have been lobbying for in order to elevate Silicon Valley’s role in the race. Having a finish line brings in more spectators, and therefore more money.

But there are some questions about why the San Jose finish line is on a mountain and not in the downtown area.

Cycling fans understand however that there’s nothing more exciting than an epic mountaintop finish.

”It makes it a different race,” said Andy Ball CEO of WebCore Builders, and an avid cyclist. “It’s not just the sprinters coming into town, it’s the mountain climbers. I just feel that’s a better quality finish.”

No one is debating the quality of the leg, but some, including sponsors of the tour would have preferred the finish be downtown, which is more spectator friendly.

KCBS’ Matt Bigler Reports:

Eighteen cycling teams are competing in the Tour de France-style cycling road race, which was supposed to start Sunday in South Lake Tahoe. The first leg was canceled due to snow, and the race didn’t start until Monday with a shortened leg in Nevada City.

>>Henderson Wins Stage 3; Leads Tour Of California

(Copyright 2011 by CBS San Francisco. All Rights Reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.)

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