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Bicycling: Where to watch Amgen Tour racers in Southern California

May 17, 2011|By Benoit Lebourgeois | Special to the Los Angeles Times
  • Racers pass by the Capitol in Sacramento Monday during Stage 2 of the Amgen Tour of California.
Racers pass by the Capitol in Sacramento Monday during Stage 2 of the Amgen… (Randy Pench / Sacramento…)

The Amgen Tour of California is set to roll into the southern half of the state Friday for individual time trials in Solvang, with no weather disruptions expected for the final three days of competition.

For details on where and when to watch the race, study the stage maps and logs on the Amgen Tour’s website. Rolling road closures are scheduled 30 minutes before the tour's arrival.

Here's what to expect at key sites:

-- In Solvang the start line for Stage 6 doubles as the finish line. The race here will draw crowds to watch the comings and goings, first of top female racers, such as  Kristin Armstrong, Charlotte Becker, Emma Pooley, Evelyn Stevens and Tara Whitten. They will attack the course an hour before the male competitors who remain in the roster of 18 teams of eight riders that started the truncated race in Nevada City.

Among the top men in the race are Dave Zabriskie, Chris Horner and Tejay Van Garderen

-- Steep grade and countless curves will slow the momentum during Saturday’s Claremont to Mt. Baldy Stage 7 and make it easier to identify the colorful jerseys -- with colors such as yellow for overall leader and white for best young rider--worn by racers as they battle the San Gabriel Mountains.

The intersection of Mt. Baldy and Glendora Ridge roads, in Mt. Baldy Village above Upland, will provide a vantage point to take in the action twice, first as cyclists angle to return to the valley flats and again about two hours later as they huff toward the finish line. The run up Mt. Baldy is billed as the toughest mountain climb ever in the Tour of California.

For best viewing, consider the Tour de France tradition of overnight camping because officials plan to close the road at 9 a.m. Saturday.

-- For its final sprint on Sunday,  Stage 8, the tour will travel from Santa Clarita to Thousand Oaks, where two key climbs -- Balcom Canyon and the Norwegian Grade -- will seal the fate of the yellow jersey.

Can't make it out to the race? You can follow it live online or from your smartphone.

Info: Amgen Tour of California

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