Alexis Ryan will be able to step outside her doorstep to the Amgen Tour of California empowered with SRAM when the opening stage starts and finishes in her hometown of Ventura, California. The three-day stage race moves away from Lake Tahoe for the first time in its four-year history, covering instead Ventura, Ontario, Mt Baldy, Santa Clarita and Pasadena.
“The race overall is going to be very challenging. There is a lot of climbing, and in general, more dynamic courses than we’ve had in past editions,” said Ryan.
Alongside Ryan, we field a roster of an in-form Hannah Barnes, Tiffany Cromwell, Lisa Klein, Kasia Niewiadoma and Israel road champion Omer Shapira.
“Of course, I feel pressure and excitement to be racing at home in Ventura! Everyone who has supported me from the sidelines all these years will be there cheering for me. I want to make them proud. To be able to race on the roads I’ve grown up riding brings me a lot of happiness. It’s not often a World Tour race starts near your front door!” said Ryan.
Her teammate Cromwell suggests the team will be looking to make the racing aggressive. “For our team, the best tour would be to have three hard, aggressive stages. That’s where we can show our full potential.”
Hometown heroine Alexis Ryan on the new-look women’s tour
“The first stage will be the least hilly of the three, but there are still some short, hard climbs to get over. The 1km climb about 4.5km from the finish hovers at an average of 10%. It will be quite nasty to do at the end of a hard stage. I think it will be a sprint from a reduced peloton.”
“The second stage is a day for the climbers and GC. The race is, for the most part, entirely uphill. The strongest woman will win that day. The third stage is deceiving. Although the last 25km is downhill, there is still almost 2,000 meters of climbing. It will be a reduced bunch sprint at the end.”
“My personal goals are to ride into the race and hopefully have a great finish on the final stage. I want to do well in my hometown race, but that day will be a test for my legs. I took some time off after the spring classics and am still building back fitness.”
“It’s a special race because you’re racing, but it also feels like you’re on vacation because you’re so far away from home, it’s a beautiful area, and the atmosphere from the fans is really heart-warming.”
“I feel like the race will be an unpredictable one for me as I don’t know how my body’s going to react with the climb up to Mt Baldy on stage two. But, for sure it would be wonderful to bring home a victory from the women’s Tour of California that’s also title-sponsored by our partners SRAM. That’s what we’re aiming for.”
Tiffany Cromwell adds her preview to the stages
“We have a great team for a lot of opportunities to fight for both stage victories and the overall. The first stage is in Alexis’ home town, I’m sure she knows the roads like the back of her hand and will hopefully give us some ‘local knowledge’ advantage. It’d be amazing for both the team and Alexis if we can help set her up for a result there,” said the Australian rider.
“Stage 2 is where the overall race will be more or less won. Mt Baldy is a tough climb, especially the final part of it. It might be a short 74km stage, but it’s a stage that can probably give the greatest chances for setting up the overall victory. This is a stage of Kasia for sure, she’s a proven strong climber and we have Hannah and Omer who could potentially support her for a long way up the climb.”
“Then the final stage is quite open for a lot of us. It’s a chance for a possible breakaway, on paper it seems like a tough undulating stage that suits our strengths. Especially if it’s raced hard. I’m sure we can have some fun on it!
“It’s my first time racing in USA and I’m looking forward to it! I’ve heard the racing is different to Europe because of the wider roads and that the race itself is well-organised. I think this will benefit me because the fight for position isn’t my strongest point. I’m aiming to be as helpful as possible for the team and to be a REAL part of the team’s efforts,” said the Israeli road champion.
Cromwell and Klein come off a three week-long altitude camp
“I’ve had a great experience so far. It’s my first time in USA, my first altitude camp and I’m super surprised in a positive way,” said Klein.
“Tiff and I have worked hard and her experience has helped me when I’ve had bad days because of the effects of altitude. I aim to come out of the camp really fit and I’m very motivated to reach my goals in the second part of the season.”
“I get also the chance to participate in my first race in USA. I am excited! I don’t know how I will feel straight after this camp but I will contribute 100% to our plans. I am confident we will have a great tour all together,” added Klein.
“I’m excited to race in California, and especially on a new route this year. I’d like that the team is able to win a stage and possibly target the GC too. The Mt Baldy stage is the most challenging. I’ve ridden that climb a few times now and it will be the deciding day for the GC.”
How to follow
Stage 1 | 96.5km | Ventura | start 12:10PST
Stage 2 | 74km | Ontario – Mt Baldy | start 09:45PST
Stage 3 | 126km | Santa Clarita – Pasadena | start 09:05PST
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