Tour of California: Stage 1 Delayed, Shortened


Update 11:45 a.m.: The Tour of California organizers just announced that a 50-mile version of Stage 1 will roll out from the Stateline, Nevada, start line at 1:15 p.m. The route will head around the southern end of Lake Tahoe, turn north on Highway 89 to head north up the lake’s east side, climb to a Category 4 King of the Mountain summit above Emerald Bay, and finish with an uphill finish at the Northstar ski resort.

We are sitting comfortably in Berkeley, a good 180 miles away from the action, but we note that according to the National Weather Service reporting station at Lake Tahoe, the snow has never let up since it started last night. Current conditions: light snow, temperature of 30 degrees F., wind from the south at 10 mph, gusting to 22.

Here’s the revised course map:Tour of California Stage 1 map

And here’s the revised course log: 11 AToC Stage 1 log south side only.xls

Earlier: Above, an image posted to Twitter this morning by Team Garmin. Yeah–that’s near Lake Tahoe and the planned start of the Tour of California this morning.

It snowed all night in the Sierra and now the organizers have decided to shorten the stage and delay the start for several hours to give the weather a chance to improve. If weather and road conditions are still bad at noon, the stage could be canceled outright. Here’s the latest Tour statement:

Due to severe and unsafe weather conditions in the Lake Tahoe area, the start of Stage 1 of the 2011 Amgen Tour of California has been delayed. If the weather improves, a shortened stage will be started at 1:15 p.m. PT. We will continue to monitor the weather conditions and state of the roads and make a final decision at noon PT, with the riders’ safety as our number one priority.

The new route will continue to take the riders from South Lake Tahoe to Northstar up the west side of Lake Tahoe. The stage will be approximately 50 miles. There will be no changes to the timing or the finish line at Northstar. The Lifestyle Festival at the finish will still open at noon PT, with the Amgen Breakaway Mile also remaining on schedule for 2:30 p.m. PT.

– Andrew Messick, President of AEG Sports, presenter of the Amgen Tour of California

Tour of California: Waiting on the Weather

The Tour of California organizers have just released a statement on how they’ll respond to the onset of potentially dangerous winter weather on the planned Stage 1 course around Lake Tahoe on Sunday:

The 2011 Amgen Tour of California is scheduled to kick off Sunday, May 15, in South Lake Tahoe at 10:30 a.m. PT. As everyone is aware, there is a storm front predicted to reach the area. Therefore race organizers, in conjunction with 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. The weather is constantly changing in the Sierras, 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. PT tomorrow, and will ultimately be based on what is best and most safe for our riders and spectators. Details will be distributed on the official race website and via email.
– Andrew Messick, President of AEG Sports, presenter of the Amgen Tour of California

I’ll only note that as the clock strikes midnight, the latest weather reports show light snow at Lake Tahoe Airport and at Blue Canyon, on Interstate 80 at about 5,200 feet west of Donner Summit. The National Weather Service office in Reno notes that on May 15, 1984, the town of Truckee recorded 4 inches of snow. Winter can last a while in the high country.

Some other links on weather and race speculation:

Cyclingnews: Contingencies in Place for Amgen Tour of California Weather San Jose Mercury News: Tour of California may have to change course for first day because of snowstorm Los Angeles Times: Snow, ice threaten start of Tour of California cycling race Tour of California can’t get a break Sacramento Bee: Tour of California officials ponder options