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Amgen Tour Of California Racers Gear Up For Steep Climbs In Record Heat

SAN JOSE (KCBS) — The Amgen Tour of California bike race comes to San Jose Tuesday morning for what is expected to be the most difficult leg of the race on one of the hottest days so far.

The starting gate was up but there was still much preparation happening at the Raging Waters theme park in San Jose where teams will begin at about 10:45 a.m., what is known as the "queen stage" or Stage 3 of the tour which is most difficult part of the entire race with two steep climbs.

Course Director Eric Smith told KCBS that it all starts on Mount Hamilton.

"Once they get to the top, it's a pretty treacherous descent. I know the local cyclists know this mountain very well; you then have that long stretch on San Antonio Valley Road to Mines Road into Livermore," he said.

"Once in Livermore, we catch back on to the same route we did in 2013, which will take us through Danville and Blackhawk and then we start the climb up Mount Diablo which has been the most difficult climb for the race in the past two or three years.

The hot weather also coincides with today's bike race; temperatures are expected to reach the upper 90s. Smith said racers will need to "hydrate, hydrate, hydrate."

Teams are even likely to set up team feeding stations even earlier on the course than originally planned, Smith said.

Race director Jim Burrell told KCBS on Monday that there will be a "mobile water fountain" in place.

"It's motorcycle that has a fabricated water bottle holder on it; it will hold up to 24 water bottles that can move up and down through the peloton," he said.

Burrell said it's necessary because team cars have difficulty maneuvering easily through the narrow, winding mountain roads.

Tens of thousands of bike racing fans are expected to flock to the open roads Tuesday to see the race and are being urged by organizers to stay hydrated.

There will be no public shuttles up the mountain, limited parking on the lower mountain, and limited working water faucets or fountains in the state park due to the drought.

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