Santa Clarita City Councilman Cameron Smyth. Katharine Lotze/Signal

Cameron Smyth: What you need to know for the Amgen Tour of California

Come Saturday, May 18, Santa Clarita will welcome some of the world’s best male and female cyclists as they race off in the Amgen Tour of California, locally presented by Curtiss-Wright. The Amgen Tour of California is a Tour de France-style race that takes place over seven days and seven stages from Sacramento to Pasadena.

Santa Clarita will host the official start for the final stage, which runs from Santa Clarita to Pasadena, of both the Men’s Race (Stage 7) and Women’s Race (Stage 3). The start line will be at the Westfield Valencia Town Center on Town Center Drive.

This year marks the 14th stage our city has hosted – the most in Amgen Tour of California history! Although the city is a seasoned host, not everyone has had the opportunity to view the race up close and personal. I encourage you to come out on May 18 to cheer on the cyclists.

Prior to the riders beginning their race toward the Rose Bowl in Pasadena, starting at 8 a.m., there will be opportunities for autographs, a festival, family-friendly activities and live interviews on stage. The Women’s Race will start first at 9:05 a.m., followed by the Men’s Race at 10:35 a.m.

The following are a few pieces of information I want to share, to help you fully enjoy the race:

Teams

Nineteen men’s teams of elite professional cyclists will contest 87.6 miles of scenic roads as they make their way from Santa Clarita down to Pasadena. The concurrent women’s event will feature 16 teams and stretches over 71.8 miles to the same finish line in Pasadena.

This event attracts famous cyclists from all over the world from countries like Germany, Israel, Netherlands, Mexico, Italy and Poland.

This year the men’s race will welcome cycling stars Peter Sagan, Marcel Kittel and Mark Cavendish. We’ll also get to see Astana’s 2018 Tour de France stage winners Magnus Cort Nielsen and Omar Fraile. For the women riders, keep an eye out for Olympic medalists and champions Lizzie Deignan and Chantel Blaak.

How Winners Are Determined

The Amgen Tour of California is a road cycling race that takes place in stages. Each stage consists of a mass-start where the “peloton,” a term used to describe the cycling group, race off to a set finish point.

The stage winner is the first to cross the finish line. In order to be declared the overall race winner, you have to have the lowest cumulative time for completion of all stages. The winning team is determined by adding each team’s three best individual times in each of the completed stages. The team with the fastest time wins.

The Amgen Tour of California also awards different colored classification jerseys for cyclists who collect the most points in leading, sprinting and climbing. Cyclists may also earn jerseys for the overall best young rider and the most courageous rider of the previous stage.

The Route through Santa Clarita

Once the gun blasts and the flag drops, riders will make their way up Town Center Drive toward McBean Parkway. From McBean Parkway, they’ll travel northbound to Copper Hill Drive where they’ll begin riding east across the city, using Bouquet Canyon Road and Vasquez Canyon Road. From Vasquez Canyon Road they’ll travel southbound, and ride through Sierra Highway to get to Sand Canyon Road and eventually travel eastbound on Soledad Canyon Road out of the city. For detailed information on the race route, please visit SantaClaritaTourofCA.com.

Plan Ahead

During the race, roads will be closed prior to the cyclists’ arrival and open after the roadways are clear of race traffic. Road closures are expected to take place in segments between 8 a.m. and noon. Many neighborhoods are located near the race route, so I encourage everyone to visit SantaClaritaTourofCA.com to get more information and plan ahead. For real-time traffic updates on race day, please follow the city of Santa Clarita on Twitter.

Celebrate Biking All Month

It’s not a coincidence that the Amgen Tour of California takes place during National Bike Month. In addition to the race, you can celebrate all things biking in Santa Clarita with free bike-themed events.

On Wednesday, May 15, get pumped up for Saturday by joining fellow cycling fans at B.J.’s Restaurant and Brewhouse at the Westfield Valencia Town Center, to watch the Stage 4 recap of the Amgen Tour of California. On Thursday, May 16, get to your job in a healthy and environmentally friendly way by participating in Bike to Work Day.

The Amgen Tour of California is the only cycling race in the United States to have been granted a WorldTour status by the Union Cycliste Internationale (UCI), the worldwide governing body for cycling. This race will be broadcast nationwide on NBC and NBCSN, and internationally on various broadcasting channels. This means the entire world will be watching Santa Clarita – but you’ll have the opportunity to see it right in front of your very own eyes. I’ll see you at the Stage Start!

To learn more, please visit SantaClaritaTourofCA.com.

Cameron Smyth is the mayor pro tem of the Santa Clarita City Council and can be reached at [email protected]

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