PALMDALE – Stage 3 of the 2013 Amgen Tour of California, the nation’s largest professional road cycling race, is coming to Palmdale Tuesday (May 14) at Marie Kerr Park and will feature 16 teams from among the best international and domestic squads.
The field will include Olympic medalists, Tour de France competitors and the reigning world champion.
Before the teams of Olympic and world class cyclists begin their 110 mile grueling journey from Palmdale to Santa Clarita, several Antelope Valley residents will play significant roles in the pre-race festivities, which begin at 9:30 a.m.
The event will begin with the posting of colors by the Highland High School ROTC Color Guard, the singing of the National Anthem by Jacob Nelson and Molly Wineland, and welcoming remarks by Palmdale Mayor Jim Ledford. Visitors will also enjoy the festival area and rider sign-in with autograph opportunities in fan favorite Autograph Alley.
The official start of the race will be handled by Palmdale resident Ben Jefferson, who will fire the starting pistol at 11:20 a.m. as part of Amgen’s Breakaway from Cancer® initiative (Read more here).
The firing of the starting pistol will signal the beginning of the 110-mile journey from Palmdale to Santa Clarita.
After leaving Marie Kerr, the cyclists will head west on Rancho Vista Blvd. They will take Rancho Vista Boulevard all the way up until they reach Avenue N. At Avenue N, the cyclists will make a left and head west all the way up to 70th West. From there, they head north to Avenue I, then turn left and head west to Munz Ranch Road and up the hill for the first of four King of the Mountain stages of the race. Once they finish the hill, they’ll head east on Lake Elizabeth Road until reaching San Francisquito Canyon where they will embark on the first of three canyon routes. The riders will pass through Green Valley and continue just over 20 miles until they reach the Old Road down in Santa Clarita. From The Old Road, the cyclists head north until hooking up with Lake Hughes road. At that point, the race heads back north on Lake Hughes road for approximately another 25 miles to Elizabeth Lake Road, where the racers will turn southeast all the way to Bouquet Canyon Road. At Bouquet Canyon, the peddling continues back up into the hills for about 30 miles all the way to the finish line near Magic Mountain Parkway and Valencia Boulevard in Santa Clarita.
Best places to watch the race in Palmdale
Some of the best places to view the race include:
Neutral start from Marie Kerr Park to Town Center Drive. This is the section where the riders are warming up, great place to catch the ‘peloton.’ Be sure to pick up your official Palmdale cowbell at the start and cheer the riders as they pass!
Corner of Avenue N/Rancho Vista Bouolevard: This is where the race begins, a great place to see who takes the lead in the first breakaway. Expect the riders to arrive around 11:27 a.m.
Munz Ranch Road from Lancaster Road: This is the first Category 4 KOM (King of the Mountain) of the race. The first riders should begin the climb at 12:07 p.m. It will be a great place to see climbers who are typically the smallest and lightest riders in the peloton. Points are awarded to the first few riders to cross the summit of categorized (KOM) climbs. Difficult climbs are worth more points and the rider who has accumulated the most points over the course of a race is crowned at the King of the Mountain. The riders will still have 91.2 miles to go to finish the race.
Lake Hughes Road from Ridge Route Road: Second and third Category 4 KOMs. Riders will pass 1:26 – 2:19 pm.
Elizabeth Lake Road from Lake Hughes Road: This is the Visit California Sprint Line, and a great place to look out for Peter Sagan (SVK), Cannondale Pro Cycling, who took a record five stage wins at last year’s race and competed at the 2012 Summer Olympics in London. Expect the first riders to arrive about 2:13 pm.
Elizabeth Lake Road at Johnson Road: The second Visit California Sprint Line is in Leona Valley. Expect the riders to pass between 2:37-3:36 pm.
Bouquet Canyon Road at Elizabeth Lake Road: This is the third Category 4 KOM of the race. The climb will last 1.8 miles to the summit at 3,520 feet, with an elevation gain of 438 feet. Expect the riders to pass through starting at 2:47 pm.
Attendees to the festival and start are advised to park in the lot on 30th Street West, just east of the Palmdale Amphitheater. Attendees should before 11 a.m. in advance of the road closures.
The intermittent road closures in the City of Palmdale for the race will begin at 11 a.m. and occur on:
- Rancho Vista Boulevard from 25th Street West and Avenue N, including any secondary or residential intersections and commercial driveways within those limits;
- Avenue N between 50th Street West and 70th Street West, (including any secondary or residential intersections, and commercial driveways within those limits.); and
- 70th Street West between Agena Way and Ave M, (including any secondary or residential intersections, and commercial driveways within those limits.)
The intermittent closures could last between 30 and 50 minutes as the race progresses out of Palmdale. Once the race begins, it should take the riders and support caravans no longer than 20 minutes to pass intersecting streets along the racecourse.
2013 marks the third time Palmdale has been a host city for the Amgen Tour of California. For more information on the 2013 Amgen Tour of California, and to view the 2013 Amgen Tour of California map, visit www.AmgenTourofCalifornia.com, the City of Palmdale’s Web site, www.cityofpalmdale.org/atoc, or on Facebook at www.facebook.com/ATOCPalmdale.