It's an interesting twist to the race course, as the race returns to Atlanta for the first time since 2003, skips Alpharetta and Dahlonega, and again includes a climbing time trial up Lookout Mountain.
The April 16th-22nd calendar expands the race to 7 days, and the distance over 600 miles.
Here's the stage rundown:
- Stage 1: Peachtree City - Macon. From the southern Atlanta suburbs to Macon, which has been a host for 5 consecutive years.
- Stage 2: Thomaston - Rome. Rome has been a stage finish every year, and was the time trial city in 2004 and 2005.
- Stage 3: Rome - Chattanooga. Chattanooga remains the only city outside of Georgia to host a stage finish.
- Stage 4 ITT: Chickamauga - Lookout Mountain. The ITT either has a new course, or it's shorter, with the finish on the mountain, instead of giving the riders recovery time into Chattanooga as last year.
- Stage 5: Dalton - Brasstown Bald. What's typically been two stages, one from the I-75 corridor into northeast Georgia and one around and up Brasstown Bald, are combined into one major league stage.
- Stage 6: Lake Lanier Islands - Stone Mountain Park. A Saturday ride from park to park. Stone Mountain Park should be well-suited to the weekend finishing crowds.
- Stage 7: Atlanta Circuit Race. Sunday's finish returns to Atlanta, and will start and finish at Centennial Olympic Park downtown.
Some travel tips: Rome or Dalton look like the hot tickets for the first part of the race. You could easily make the finish of Stage 2, Stage 3 and Stage 4, and the beginning of Stage 5 from Rome, Dalton, or Chattanooga.
Atlanta residents are well-positioned to visit the start of the race on Monday, Stage 6 or Stage 7.