PHOTOS BY STEPHEN K PEEPLES and JESSICA BOYER
Santa Clarita Valley cycling enthusiasts gathered by the roadside and near TVs throughout Santa Clarita to enjoy the city’s fifth visit from the Amgen Tour of California.
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The 650-mile cycling race that traverses the state welcomed fans from all over, temporarily closing local roads for a massive peloton of the world’s top cyclists passed through town.
“I was excited about it,” said Ben Delatorre, of Santa Clarita. “I work right up the road, so when we heard the tour was coming through, we just kind of planned the day, and took the afternoon off so we could come through and watch the race.”
This year, as the race headed from the southern part of the state to the north, it criss-crossed through the Santa Clarita Valley, with the third stage ending on McBean Parkway near the Valencia Town Center.
The third stage featured a 22-mile climb up Lake Hughes Road, following the route of the famous Furnace Creek 508, an ultra-endurance race through Santa Clarita.
The 18-mile descent gave riders a large field sprint toward the finish line, and fans a great view of the action.
“I thought the group rides we go on are big, but nothing like that, Delatorre said. “I haven’t seen anything like that before. It’s pretty impressive to see all that. It’s a lot faster than it looks on TV.”
The fourth stage will start near there Wednesday at around noon and take cyclists out of the Santa Clarita Valley via the Highway 126 route up to Santa Barbara.
Tanner Bloom, of Fullerton, was encouraged by the fact that there were several American riders among the international pack leaders, which had raced ahead of the peloton.
“It was good to see the local boys out there and doing well,” she said.
There’s also a Santa Clarita website created for the Amgen Tour of California to help those looking for more information about the closures Wednesday, which should be brief, said Evan Thomason, city communications specialist.
The website has elevation maps, bike routes and information useful as a fan or a concerned resident.
Stephen K. Peeples contributed to this report.
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Source: Santa Clarita News