August 26, 2004 – Internationally-renowned cyclist Lance Armstrong is scheduled to join a strong field of riders from around the world in the fourth annual T-MOBILE INTERNATIONAL, presented by BMC Software, Sunday, September 12, on the streets of downtown San Francisco.
The schedule includes a pro women’s race and a celebrity race plus a myriad of festival and exposition activities in what has become a daylong, downtown happening revolving around the spectacle of the five-hour, 108.1-mile men’s competition. It will be Armstrong’s first planned U.S. outing since his triumph in France, winning the sport’s premier event for the sixth consecutive time.
The 56.1-mile women’s race begins at 7a.m. and the men’s race at 10 a.m. with the start/finish line for both on the Embarcadero near the Ferry Building. ABC affiliate KGO-TV will provide live coverage beginning at 6 a.m. with updates during news programming and Good Morning America. A live, two-hour special covering the culmination of the men’s race begins at 1 p.m. Outdoor Life Network (OLN) will also produce a post-race special on the event.
A total of 120 men, including several coming directly from competition in Athens, Greece, are expected to race at speeds of up to 40 miles per hour along the 8.8-mile course. Total prize money for both men and women of $65,500 is at stake.
Since its creation in 2001, the event has become one of San Francisco’s largest and most popular special events, bringing visitors to the city from all over the world. It has earned a reputation as “America’s Toughest Bike Race” because of its length and two of San Francisco’s most fearsome hills – Fillmore and Taylor Streets. Estimated crowds of over 500,000 have lined the streets each of the past two years, as the race has become a sort of pop-culture phenomenon, spawning tailgate parties, front porch gatherings and restaurant special events.
This year’s course has changed slightly from the 2003 race. Instead of racing along the Marina Boulevard, riders will continue on Bay Street to Fillmore and then to Chestnut Street. The course continues along Chestnut until the intersection of Chestnut and Lyon Streets. The race wraps back around on Greenwich Street, up the grueling Fillmore Street climb onto Broadway Street and finishes along the same streets leading up to The Embarcadero.
This year, for the first time, race festivities will begin Saturday at noon with the opening of the Cycling Expo near the start/finish line in front of the city’s landmark Ferry Building at Justin Herman Plaza. Music and other attractions will be interspersed throughout the downtown area as part of the festivities, which are free and open to the public throughout.