The second year under the ASO/Tour de France umbrella will see some changes for the L'Étape California.
In 2018, L'Étape California By Le Tour De France, to give the event its full name, will not follow the route of one of the stages of the Amgen Tour of California as it has since its start.
It will also take place later in the year, after the pro event.
"Since the event is Tour de France branded it isn't necessarily going to be an exact course of the Amgen Tour of California because we're keeping the events distinct," he continued.
The route for L'Étape is still under wraps for now.
Given the host cities for the 2018 Amgen Tour unveiled recently, it was always going to be difficult to create a workable route for a mass amateur event.
The three stages which offer the climbing that is a defining feature of the Etape series suffer from significant distances between start and finish, even as the crow flies. That presents real logistical issues for a gran fondo that are of no concern to a pro race.
Basically, how does everyone get home?
Not having to follow the pro course exactly will allow Ryan and his team flexibility to come up with better courses for the amateur.
The downside is that you lose the buzz of riding precisely the same pavement as the elite peloton. No watching among the best in world climb the same slopes a few weeks later, no way to say "I rode that stage ... just a lot slower," and no shared Strava statistics with Sagan.
In August, the event's Facebook teased: "Where will the 2018 ride take us? We're diligently planning next year's route and location..." alongside the mountainous picture below.
Josh Mott rode the 2017 event that scaled Mt. Baldy for Granfondo.com. Read his report here.
If I were a gambling man (and I am occasionally), I'd put my money on the 2018 L'Etape featuring part of Stage 6 from Folsom to South Lake Tahoe rather than a third year in a row in Southern California. Perhaps a loop route from the lake finishing on the same roads as the pros.
The original L'Étape over a Tour de France stage is the granddaddy of them all and a bucket list event on the world gran fondo scene since 1993. It is in the French Alps this year on July 8 and is a tough 105 miles and 15,600 feet of climbing, much of it towards the end of the day.
All 10,000 places on general sale were snapped up in under four days.
2018 Amgen Tour of California
The Amgen Tour of California will move from south to north, starting in Long Beach and finishing in Sacramento, with the biggest days looking like Stage 2 from Ventura to Santa Barbara over Gibraltar Road and Stage 6 from Folsom to South Lake Tahoe. The women's peloton will race the last three days with the stage to the 6,500-foot finish at Tahoe one of the biggest climbs on the UCI Women's WorldTour.
Sunday, May 13 Stage 1 - Long Beach
Monday, May 14 Stage 2 - Ventura to Santa Barbara County (Gibraltar Road)
Tuesday, May 15 Stage 3 - King City to Monterey County (Mazda Raceway Laguna Seca)
Wednesday, May 16 Stage 4 - San Jose (Time Trial)
Thursday, May 17 Stage 5/1 Women - Stockton to Elk Grove
Friday, May 18 Stage 6/2 Women - Folsom to South Lake Tahoe
Saturday, May 19 Stage 7/3 Women - Sacramento