Original - 97.5 Miles | 8948 ft (157 km | 2727 M+) ·
Stage 2 starts with an exclusive treat, riding through the manicured grounds and gardens of the world famous Biltmore Estate. Upon exiting the Biltmore, the route follows the French Broad River and then heads west for a series of punchy rolling hills.
About nine miles after crossing the French Broad River, the 57-mile Compact route turns right on Road 1220 to head toward Leicester.
The Original route continues straight for a few more miles until it reaches the first significant climb. The climb of Newfound Gap is short, only 2.4 miles, but it climbs 700 feet onto a plateau of sorts, meaning riders don’t get much of a descent on the backside.
After riding through the outskirts of Canton, riders will head up a very rural climb over Crabtree Mountain. The heart of this climb is only 1.4 miles long, but averages 11% and has pitches steeper than 15%. The descent on the backside is similarly steep, so take care!
Riders should take advantage of the flat roads through Crabtree, because they’ll be either climbing or descending for the next 25 miles. Following a climb and descent to Fines Creek, riders will reach the two longest climbs of the stage. The first is Betsy’s Gap, a 3.8-mile climb under shady trees that rises 1240 feet. This is followed by a fast and not-so-technical 6-mile descent to the Trust General Store, a frequently visited water stop for local cyclists. Immediately after passing the Trust General Store, riders will tackle the longest climb of the stage, the 5-mile ascent of Doggett Mountain.
Following the twisting descent off Doggett Mountain, there’s about 5 more miles of gradual descending before riders hit a 13-mile stretch of short and punchy hills. This is where the Compact and Original routes converge again. Retired local pro and 2x US Pro National Champion, Matthew Busche, warns, “With short, punchy climbs it’s not the first or second that gets you. It’s the fifth, sixth, and so on. Be careful not to give everything on the early hills and have nothing left for later on.”
Once riders reach the French Broad River, the next 9 miles follow the path of the river before turning up a very gradual climb to the finish Start/Finish in downtown Asheville.
The stage cols will be available soon