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Course Announcement: Tour de Georgia Route to Cover 667 Miles in 2007ATLANTA, Ga. (January 29, 2007) - Organizers have revealed that the Tour de Georgia has grown in more ways than just number of days and prestige for its fifth edition this year. The 2007 Tour de Georgia will cover 667 miles in seven days, making it the longest (total distance) in the five year history of the event, and one of the longest professional stage races in the U.S. this year. From April 16 to 22, the Tour de Georgia will visit 12 Host Venues, which will provide the start and finish locations for the seven stages.
On Monday, April 16, the Tour will begin in Peachtree City, Ga., located just south of metro Atlanta in Fayette County, and will move in a clock-wise direction around the state until it reaches downtown Atlanta for the final circuit race and grand finale stage on Sunday, April 22. All seven stages are new this year, including the Individual Time Trial to the top of Lookout Mountain, Ga. The details for the route were made official today by Medalist Sports, the sports management agency based in Tyrone, Ga. licensed to operate the Tour de Georgia.
"Considered as an essential lead-in event prior to the Grand Tours of Europe, the Tour de Georgia and its legendary route will challenge some of the most elite professional cycling teams in the world and, at the same time, entertain hundreds of thousands of spectators every day. This year's route is a perfect blend of all of the Tour's objectives - a highly competitive course showcasing the beautiful terrain and hospitable communities of Georgia and Tennessee, combined into seven days of thrilling action for our spectators. This has become a springtime tradition in the South that reaches a global sports audience," said Chris Aronhalt, managing partner of Medalist Sports and Executive Director for the Tour de Georgia. Medalist is responsible for all route planning and approvals.
Stage 1: Monday, April 16 -Peachtree City to Macon
Distance 97 miles (156 km) Start 12:00 Noon. Expected finish 3:30pm-4:00 p.m.
Stage 2: Tuesday, April 17 - Thomaston to Rome
Distance 135 miles (217 km) Start 11:00 a.m. Expected finish 4:00-5:00 p.m.
Stage 3: Wednesday, April 18 - Rome to Chattanooga, Tenn.
Distance 118 miles (190 km) Start 12:00 Noon. Expected finish 4:15 p.m.- 5:00 p.m.
Stage 4: Thursday, April 19 - Chickamauga/Walker Co. to Lookout Mountain (Time Trial)
Distance 18.9 miles (30.4 km) Start 11:00 a.m. Expected finish 11:40 a.m.-2:00 p.m.
Individual cyclists depart in 1 minute intervals; final 10 riders depart in 2 minute intervals
Stage 5: Friday, April 20 - Dalton to Brasstown Bald Mountain/Towns Co
Distance 107 miles (172 km) Start 11:00 a.m. Expected finish 2:50- 3:30 p.m.
Stage 6: Saturday, April 21 - Lake Lanier Islands/ Hall Co. to Stone Mountain Park/Dekalb Co.
Distance 113.5 miles (183 km) Start 11:00 a.m. Expected finish 3:00-3:45 p.m.
Stage 7: Sunday, April 22 - Atlanta (circuit race)
Distance 77 miles (123.9 km) Start 1:00 p.m. Expected finish 4:00-4:30 p.m.
* all times subject to change
Peachtree City, Ga., which has had two stages pass through the city in past years, is a first-time Host Venue for the Overall Start of the Tour de Georgia. The 97-mile Stage One will begin near Lake Peachtree and in the middle of the 90-mile network of multi-use paths for pedestrians, cyclists, and golf carts that have made Peachtree City a recreational haven. The route heads southeast through Zebulon and Barnesville taking the rolling Cherry Blossom Trail to Macon, which will host a Tour stage for a fifth consecutive year. Macon spectators will enjoy three finishing circuits on Monday, with a traditional finish line on Cherry and Third streets. Prior to the men's finish of Stage One, Macon will host the third annual Komen Central Georgia Cycle for the Cure, a professional women's cycling event, benefiting the Susan G. Komen Breast Cancer Foundation.
Stage Two will depart Tuesday from Thomaston, Ga., located about 30 miles west of Macon. Thomaston, which has received national recognition twice as "One of the 100 Best Small Towns in America", hosted a Stage Start in 2004. This 135-mile route is the longest of the week, passing through eight Georgia counties. The route begins with a neutral, or "ceremonial" start in Thomaston, and passes through the historic square of Newnan where a Sprint line will be located. Cyclists will contest a second Sprint line in Rockmart, which is home to a section of the Silver Comet Trail, a multi-purpose path that spans close to 100 miles connecting Atlanta to Anniston, Ala. Once in Rome, the cyclists will have to repeatedly conquer the steep incline of Clocktower Hill on two finishing circuits before the sprint finish at 1st Street and 2nd Avenue. The first King of the Mountain Climb points of the Tour will be awarded on the first pass up Clocktower Hill.
Rome does double duty as the start venue for Stage Three on Wednesday, April 18. Just south of downtown, the Stage Start will begin at the Darlington School. As the first official climbing stage of the Tour, Stage Three is the second longest stage covering 118 miles. There is one Sprint line in Summerville, and four King of the Mountain climbs - one just north of Rome, one outside Menlo, one at Cloudland Canyon State Park and a final at the top of Lookout Mountain. The race will crest the mountain at Rock City Gardens, then descent into Tennessee for a second finish in downtown Chattanooga. The finish line at Riverfront Parkway and Chestnut Street overlooks the Tennessee River and the Tennessee Aquarium.
Just 25 miles south of Tennessee, Stage Four returns to Chickamauga, Ga., famous for the largest Civil War battlefield park in the U.S. (Chickamauga & Chattanooga National Military Park). For the second consecutive year, Chickamauga will host the Stage Start of the Individual Time Trial, with festivities on Thursday, April 19 located at Lee Circle and Gordon Street. This year's route is an 18.91 mile vertical adventure to the top of Lookout Mountain, Ga. at the entrance to Rock City Gardens. This route will take cyclists along Old Chattanooga Valley Road and climb the high plateau using Nick-A-Jack and Lula Lake roads.
Epic climbing is the theme of the day for Stage Five, Friday, April 20. Another five-time Tour host, Dalton will watch the peloton take two neutral laps in downtown before setting off through the Chattahoochee National Forest and the now-familiar climbs in the southern Appalachian Mountains of Georgia. Covering 107 miles, the cyclists will climb Fort Mountain, Wolfpen Gap and Jacks Gap to reach the final and signature climb of the Tour de Georgia, Brasstown Bald Mountain. These final 3.12 miles are very similar to the Tour de France's epic L'Alpe d'Huez climb, are steep and covered with screaming spectators. This is the highest spot in Georgia, at 4,783 feet.
The peloton is greeted Saturday, April 21 with stunning views along Lake Lanier for the start of Stage Six. Lake Lanier Islands Resort, a 1,100-acre property with a variety of year-round amenities and services, will host its first Tour start at Holiday Point. Cyclists will see spectators lining the roads on foot and on bicycles and lining the lake on houseboats. Stage Six covers all new territory across 113.5 miles, with sprint lines in the quaint towns of Buford and Social Circle. Going south in Hall County and then east through Gwinnett and Barrow counties, the route turns back to the west in Social Circle towards DeKalb County. The race will pass through the village of Stone Mountain and enter Stone Mountain Park at the West Gate for two laps inside the Park. This section will take the riders along the hilly terrain by the golf course, with a finish line on Old Hugh Howell. Stone Mountain Park, with over 3,200 acres, is Georgia's most visited attraction, drawing nearly four million guests each year.
The Tour de Georgia returns to Atlanta, Ga. for Stage Seven on Sunday, April 22, the first time professional cycling has been on streets of the Capitol city since 2003. Centennial Olympic Park will be the location for the start/finish line in this 77-mile circuit race. Spectators will be see nine full laps of an 8.5-mile course. The peloton of professional cyclists will pass CNN world headquarters, the Jimmy Carter Library and Museum, Georgia Institute of Technology, and Georgia Aquarium. Festivities and family entertainment will be scheduled all day throughout Centennial Olympic Park, as well as the overall awards ceremony, which will follow at approximately 4:30-5:00 p.m.
"The Tour de Georgia is one of the Georgia's signature events. The number of spectators from around the world and the beneficial economic impact on our state grows every year," said Ken Stewart, commissioner of the Georgia Department of Economic Development, the presenting partner of the Tour de Georgia. "We're looking forward to showcasing not only an elite level of professional cycling, but also the hospitality of our host communities who create a day of celebration and festivity around the race."
The Tour de Georgia is one of the highest ranked stage races outside of Europe with a 2.HC rating from the Union Cycliste Internationale (international governing body of cycling) and is one of 14 races on the new USA Cycling Professional Tour. The 2006 event included 120 athletes from 22 countries. Since 2003, the Tour de Georgia has attracted 2.3 million spectators and generated over $121 million in economic impact for the state of Georgia. The event has also raised both awareness and revenue for the Georgia Cancer Coalition, the official beneficiary of the Tour. 2007 will mark the fifth consecutive year for this partnership.
Details for each of the seven stages, including maps and elevation profiles, are available to download at the official website, http://www.tourdegeorgia.com/. Additional resources such as log sheets and recommended viewing locations will be added to the website in the coming weeks.
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