Some of the top bikers in the world will match sweat ascending Mount Diablo in May and hopefully get a chance to admire the view on the way down.
There was an announcement Wednesday that, after years of requests from local bikers, the Amgen Tour of California would go up South Gate Road from the Danville side and down North Gate Road on the Walnut Creek side.
"It's a recognition of this great ride," said Rafael Rojas, manager of Performance Bicycle Shop on North Broadway, Walnut Creek. "It's an iconic place for us."
The attention to the big race of professionals should bring attention to the big local race, the Diablo Challenge, said Rojas. The challenge is 11 miles up the big mountain, organized by Save Mount Diablo, scheduled for Oct. 7 this year.
The 116-mile Stage 3 of the Amgen Tour of California, on May 15, goes from San Jose to Livermore. It will go through Danville and then take "one of the most revered climbs in California" according to the Amgen Tour website — it gets to the shoulder of the mountain, but not all the way to the summit. The route is South Gate to North Gate. From there it swoops down onto Ygnacio Valley Road and winds around to the east side of the mountain to Clayton and back to Livermore.
The South Gate climb is 1,600 vertical feet and an average grade of 4.5 percent, according to Cycling News.