Santa Clarita hosts cycling race Saturday

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first_imgThe city has budgeted $150,000 for its role in the race that starts today with a prologue in San Francisco with 144 of the world’s top cyclists. From San Francisco, the race makes its way south with stops in Sausalito, Santa Rosa, Sacramento, Stockton, San Jose, Seaside, Solvang and Santa Barbara. Saturday morning, the cyclists leave Santa Barbara and speed east to Santa Clarita, which Lantis said could be the most critical stage of the race. The tour ends the following day in Long Beach. “It’s the sixth stage,” Lantis said of the Santa Barbara-to-Santa Clarita leg, “and the seventh and final stage is a circuit race where it’s tough to make up time.” “Unless the time is very, very close,” he said, “it will be difficult for anyone to catch up to whoever is wearing the yellow jersey when they leave here.” The yellow shirt is worn by the cyclist with the overall best time. SANTA CLARITA – It’s billed as the biggest event ever to hit Santa Clarita, drawing 10 times the crowds the city’s annual cowboy festival pulls. On Saturday, 100,000 spectators are expected to line the streets of Valencia for a stage of the Amgen Tour of California bicycle race, the nation’s most prestigious cycling event. “It’s going to be great; it’s going to be wonderful,” said Phil Lantis, Santa Clarita’s arts and events administrator. “It meets the image we’re trying to project as a healthy place to live, a place that values family.” Signs are in place to warn motorists of road closures, and 300 volunteers are trained and ready to take their posts across driveways and streets that cross the route. Sheriff’s deputies will man the major intersections to keep traffic from crossing the racers’ path. On flat straightaways, the men travel up to 35 mph, making about half that heading uphill, said Irene Johnson of Canyon Country, who will take part in a professional women’s race the same day. “It’s really super exciting for the cycling world,” she said of the tour. “It’s going to bring the city so much visibility.” The top viewing location recommended by the city is the finish line on McBean Parkway between Magic Mountain Parkway and Valencia Boulevard. There the city will host a Lifestyle Festival and other related events. Another good spot is Valencia Boulevard between McBean and Tourney Road, an uphill portion on the final circuit where riders will most likely strike their best efforts for the day. The east side of Tourney north of Valencia Boulevard marks a long downhill stretch leading to Magic Mountain Parkway where sidewalks follow the route for a view of the home stretch. Last year, an estimated 100,000 spectators gathered in Balcom Canyon in Ventura County to watch the race head toward Thousand Oaks, said Jane Sherring, a Valencia cyclist who will help coordinate Saturday’s women’s race and volunteer for the Amgen tour. “It’s equal to the Tour de France,” Sherrin said. “This is huge for men’s cycling. It’s huge for Santa Clarita.” [email protected] (661) 257-5251160Want local news?Sign up for the Localist and stay informed Something went wrong. Please try again.subscribeCongratulations! You’re all set!last_img

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