H-CENTRAL COAST

Nov 27, 2012 9:47 PM by Keli Moore, KSBY News

Amgen Tour of California rolls into town

The Amgen Cycling Tour of California will once again roll through the Central Coast this spring, and Santa Barbara and Avila Beach will be host cities.

"This puts the Central Coast on the world stage," said Bob Stapleton, the owner of High Road Sports in San Luis Obispo.

Attracting more than 2-million spectators over eight-days, the race will travel 750 miles through host cities, and those cities were revealed Tuesday afternoon at a press conference in Southern California.

Race organizers said, for the first time, the tour will start in Southern California, in Escondido, and end in Northern California, in Santa Rosa.

"Taking the Amgen Tour of California from south to north is something we always knew we wanted to do, and we are thrilled with the way things have come together for 2013," said Kristin Bachochin, executive director of the Amgen Tour of California and senior vice president of AEG Sports. "We think this will bring a whole new element to the competition for the elite cyclists who participate, not to mention some striking California scenery for our worldwide audience. California provides a variety of beautiful yet challenging terrain, helping us achieve our goal of creating a challenging route year after year while showcasing the very best this state has to offer."

Stage 4 starts in Santa Clarita just north of Los Angeles. From there, the cyclists will ride north toward Santa Barbara for the Stage 4 finish. The start of Stage 5 is in Santa Barbara, local riders expect the race to travel along the 154, skirt through the wine country of San Luis Obispo County, and end up in Avila Beach for the finish, but organizers have not finalized the route.

"It's a great marketing opportunity for the restaurants, hotels and businesses in the area," said Stapleton. "Host cities for finishes of the tour have done studies to indicate anywhere from a $5 to $10-million impact on the local community."

But not all local businesses see the Amgen tour as a good thing.

KSBY spoke with the owner of the Inn at Avila Beach who also owns the La Fontana and Joe Mama's coffee shop. He said Avila Beach does not do well with one day events that draw large crowds because there is a lack of parking and many come to the area for R&R.

The race will take place May 12th-19th, 2013.

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