Becky Stafford to fire starting pistol at Amgen Tour of California

Two time cancer survivor Becky Stafford of Palmdale will fire the official starting pistol at the Amgen Tour of California in Palmdale coming to Marie Kerr Park on May 18.

PALMDALE – The Stage 6 start of the Amgen Tour of Palmdale coming to Marie Kerr Park on Friday, May 18 will not begin until Palmdale resident Becky Stafford fires the official starting gun as part of Amgen’s Breakaway from Cancer® initiative.

Stafford is a two-time cancer survivor, beating both breast and uterine cancer. She feels lucky that she was diagnosed with both of her cancers at very early stages and believes there is a huge correlation between having regular screenings such as mammograms, clinical exams, colonoscopy, pap smears, and PSA’s, and having an increased chance to survive cancer.

“Get your screenings and get second opinions; it just might save your life,” Stafford says.  She also believes that it is possible to have a good quality of life after a cancer diagnosis and encourages others to stay positive and look for silver linings.

The festival in Palmdale begins at 8:30 am, on May 18 at Marie Kerr Park with food, merchandise, displays and the arrival of the team buses. The event is free and open to the public. Race attendees will have the rare opportunity to see world class Olympic and Tour de France athletes up close and personal. Fans may get autographs of the riders in their free Palmdale souvenir magazines that will be available at the event prior to the start of the race.

The starting gun will go off at 10:25 a.m. sharp. Riders will leave Marie Kerr Park in a neutral start and head east on Rancho Vista Blvd., a flat straightaway past the heart of Palmdale’s busy retail center and Antelope Valley Mall, under the 14 Freeway, and past iconic Joshua trees in springtime bloom, until taking a hard right onto historic Sierra Highway, where the race begins in earnest.

Formerly the El Camino Sierra Trail used by prospectors and adventurers in the 19th century, Sierra Highway is part of Historic Route 6. Riders will race along this nostalgic thoroughfare, passing Palmdale’s state-of-the-art Transportation Center, beautiful desert landscape, and picturesque Lake Palmdale at 2,980 feet above sea level before turning onto Pearblossom Hwy. As the riders veer left onto Angeles Forest Hwy. from Pearblossom Hwy., they will begin their arduous ascent into the San Gabriel Mountains, the first of two grueling uphill climbs of the day. This stage of the race is 115+ miles long.

For further information on the 2012 Amgen Tour of California, and to view the 2012 Amgen Tour of California Host Cities video, visit

For more on the Breakaway from Cancer initiative, visit

(Information via press release from the City of Palmdale.)

  1 comment for “Becky Stafford to fire starting pistol at Amgen Tour of California

  1. John Mlynar
    May 11, 2012 at 3:39 pm

    This is a FREE community event. I encourage everyone who is able to stop by Marie Kerr Park on Friday, May 18 to do so. There is so much local flavor in this event, from the posting of the colors to the singing of the national anthem and the firing of the starting pistol. Even if you are not familiar with the sport of cycling (and I wasn’t until 2010), it is amazing to get up close to Olympic and Tour de France athletes. It is something that should be experience. It’s right here in our back yard, it’s free and…well..see you there!

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