Tour of Pennsylvania route announced
By Mark Zalewski, North American Editor
The new U25 Tour of Pennsylvania revealed the cities that will play hosts for the six-day stage race, working its way east to west between the state's two biggest cities -- Philadelphia to Pittsburgh. In typical American cycling fashion, the race is book-ended by two criteriums in the two cities, with a prologue on June 24 starting it all. To date, 18 teams have accepted invitations to race with a complete field of 20 to 22 teams expected.
"The Tour of Pennsylvania offers $150,000 in total prize money, the richest in the world for Espoir class riders," David Chauner, Pro Cycling Tour president said in a release. "Plus it is the only UCI sanctioned race in the U.S. specifically for riders under age 25. Our technical team has designed a route that will test the endurance, power and technical skill of these young athletes who are on the road to becoming cycling's next Olympians and Tour de France competitors."
In addition to Philadelphia and Pittsburgh, the host cities include Downingtown, Carlisle, Camp Hill, Bedford, Latrobe and Ligonier.
Stage 1: Prologue Time Trial/Philadelphia Criterium - 2 mile prologue/25 mile criterium
Stage 2: Downingtown to Carlisle - 91 miles
Stage 3: Camp Hill to Bedford - 104 miles
Stage 4: Bedford to Latrobe - 60 miles
Stage 5: Ligonier to Pittsburgh - 83 miles
Stage 6: Pittsburgh Criterium - 50 miles
Stage 2: Downingtown to Carlisle (Wednesday, June 25, 2008) (Start time: 10 a.m.) A 91-mile road race, Stage 2 takes riders through the heart of Amish country where they’ll likely find themselves pedaling alongside Lancaster County’s distinctive horse-and-buggy transportation. This course begins on mostly rolling terrain, with smooth roads giving the riders a day to ease their way into the race. However, two intermediate sprints will test their power in Ephrata and Hershey. The course will also allow the riders to find their climbing legs with a 2.5 mile subtle, yet all-important King of the Mountain (KOM) sprint at the top of Spring Hill. The final sprint will be fast with a straight lead-in (and great vantage point for spectators) to the finish line in Carlisle in front of Dickenson College. (Auto transfer to Camp Hill.)
Stage 3: Camp Hill to Bedford (Thursday, June 26, 2008)(Start time: 10 a.m.) Day 3 starts in Camp Hill at presenting sponsor Highmark’s campus there. This stage features a 104-mile road race with a classic European Road race progression. Riders will roll into the race easily for about 37 miles, with sprints in Carlisle and Chambersburg, before ascending the first of two mountain passes. The first KOM begins at mile 63 and climbs 3.5 miles to the top of Tuscarora Summit, a climb that is only the beginning of some very difficult passes to come. The final KOM is at mile 82 at Sideling Hill – this climb is about 3 miles long with an elevation gain of 2,500 feet. After the KOM, the riders will descend at speeds of 50 mph, negotiating some very technical turns, plummeting down to the finish line in the town of Bedford.