road riding in Penang | Malaysia

Kwan Low's 2007 Tour of California
story by Low Kwan Seng | photos by Low Kwan Seng unless indicated


Stage 3 "Sierra King of the Mountains", 21 February 2007: This is the second Amgen Tour of California. By all accounts, last year's inaugural tour was a stunning success.

As usual, the organisers dotted Stage 3 with the infamous Sierra climb with KoM points up for grabs at the summit. This is the once-in-a-year chance to spectate a UCI race in my neighbuorhood, just like what the tifosi do in Europe for the big tours.

The weather god has been very good to us last year, as it was sunny and dry all week. Well, the weather god is polite enough today to wait until the stage was over before the skies opened up [see :: cycling :: Articles section for link to last year's ToC article].

This year I got a better camera and camped out at a better location, so hopefully the pics turned out better.

Instead of ride the usual climb up on the Sierra side, this year I decided to ride the climb from the back side with my friend Albert. The back side of Sierra climb is called Calaveras, which is less steep - instead of 12% grade on the front, the back is only 8-10%, has some flats in between, so overall the climb is more manageable.

As usual, tons of cyclists were trying to ride up, even from this back side, but at least I did not notice anyone walking their bike, unlike those riding up from the Sierra side. We started with 60°F/15°C at the bottom, and by the time we got to the summit, the temperature had dropped to 40°F/4°C with a chilling wind! I camped out at the Sierra summit KoM point for over 2 hours to wait for the race. I saw the Specialized "Angel" bundled up in blankets, staying in the car. Probably too cold for her to "flex" her wings.

Every cyclist's dream come true.... sigh (picture: © PezCyclingNews)

Anyway, back to the race...

From what I had gathered, there was a small breakaway with 6+ mins advantage over the main peloton. However, at the bottom of the climb, an attack was started by Levi Leipheimer (Discovery Channel), who was the GC leader at that point and who also ended up as the eventual overall winner. He managed to close the 6 mins gap to join the breakaway group before the summit. I think I saw 4 of them across the KoM line at the same time [Levi, Jens Voigt (Team CSC), Robert Gesink (Rabobank) and Jason McCartney (Discovery Channel)..

Jens Voigt sprinted across the finish line and won Stage 3.

Ok, on to the pictures...

Started at the bottom of the climb. Beautiful day and nice scenery. Grade is manageable.

More nice scenery along the way...

Tifosi at the summit.

This is THE Sierra summit KoM point. Hey LOOK! It's a LOOK 595!

Thanks for reading, and Part II will be here soon!

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