The winner of the 2017 Amgen Tour of California could be decided on the final 15 switchbacks to the finish atop Mt. Baldy. It’s been called the “Queen Stage” and compared to the epic stages of the European Grand Tours. The training ground for many local Southern California riders, the race will return to the mountain top finish that thrilled fans in 2011, 2012 and 2015. Only a handful had done the entire route, but after the race contested the climb in 2015, this is now one of hottest Strava segments in the U.S.
The race will begin at the Ontario Convention Center, marking the third time Ontario has hosted a stage culminating at Mt. Baldy.
This year’s route will head north into Upland. From here, the riders will start an 11-mile climb to the Village of Baldy. After an acute left, the racers will face another mile of climbing up Glendora Ridge Road to their first of three monster KOMs. From there, they will face 12 miles of narrow and twisting roads that gradually lead to a fast and technical descent down the backside of Glendora Mountain Road. Riders and fans alike can expect spectacular vistas throughout the Angeles National Forest. Another descent down East Fork will take the riders to Highway 39 and the town of Azusa. Heading east, they’ll race through the outskirts of Glendora.
A left turn onto Glendora Mountain Road (known by locals as the infamous “GMR”) will invite the peloton to a grueling 9-mile climb to the second KOM of the day followed by 12 miles of a slight climb back to Baldy Village. A left turn back onto Baldy Road will see the race gain 1,000 feet in just two miles… but the real climbing will be yet to come! At Ice House Canyon, the route will make a hard left turn where the sign to the ski area points toward the sky. Over the next 2.5 miles, the riders will face 10 switchbacks on a road so steep many of the race vehicles cannot make it to the top. With 1.2 miles to go, the road will straighten and the finish will be visible ahead. At .25 miles to go, the route will make a hard left and the racers will face the final five switchbacks to the finish line, where legends are made. The stage will include two sprints, three KOMs and a massive 12,000-foot elevation gain.