Escondido to kickoff Amgen cycling race

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ESCONDIDO, Calif. – This year’s Amgen Tour of California bicycle race will begin May 12 in Escondido and run south to north for the first time, organizers announced Wednesday.

bike, bicyclistThe 104.3-mile first stage is set to start and finish at Broadway and Grand Avenue in Escondido, with a challenging stretch over Palomar Mountain.

The eight-stage event, touted as America’s biggest professional stage race, is scheduled to finish May 19 in Santa Rosa.

“We take great pride in creating challenging, beautiful Amgen Tour of California routes that attract top international riders and showcase the state’s amazing terrain and scenery,” said Kristin Bachochin, executive director of the race and senior vice president of AEG Sports.

“We also consider the many fan and rider route suggestions before we settle on a final course,” Bachochin said. “This year will be not only the most competitive but the most spectacular with diverse California scenery, from coastal routes to mountain vistas.”

The second stage will run from Murrieta in southern Riverside County to the base station of the Palm Springs Aerial Tramway. Other scenic locations for the race include the beach in Santa Barbara, the Lake Cachuma Recreation Area, Mount Diablo in San Francisco, the Golden Gate Bridge, Sausalito and Point Reyes National Seashore.

AEG also announced that it is looking to fill 5,000 volunteer positions. More information on getting involved is online at amgentourofcalifornia.com.