May 16, 2013 1:58 AM by Victoria Johnson

Catch the Tour of California before the finish

If you don't want to fight the crowds at the Avila Beach finish line Thursday, there are many other places to get a good look at the riders. People in Arroyo Grande are going to see some great action because it's one of three sprint legs in the race and cyclists will be going all out.

It won't be as crowded as Avila Beach. However, for a few hours it will have many of the same troubles, and the same excitement. "I understand they go by pretty fast. It should be a lot of fun," said Michelle Mandulay, manager at Doc Burnstein's Ice Cream Lab. Spectators can catch the fun in Arroyo Grande from many prime viewing spots.

"Anywhere from Fair Oaks in front of the high school, across Traffic Way, across Branch where the sprint will be and then out to Corbett Canyon Road which will be a little bit slower and you can see more of the event," said Nolan Hughes, owner of Ira's Bike Shop.

Traffic Way and Branch Streets downtown will be shut down from two to four in the afternoon. You can search for street parking or use parking lots behind Ira's Bike Shop and the Branch Street Deli.

"We'll have a meatloaf sandwich tomorrow and fresh soup," said Dylan Braden, employee of Alphy's Broiler. Most downtown businesses will be open. Alphy's Broiler will offer a daily special along with a great view from the patio. If it gets too hot, you can always cool down at Doc Burnstein's.

"It's going to be an amazing opportunity to see some great athletes and be outside. It will be a beautiful, warm day. We've got lots of extra friendly staff here tomorrow," said Mandulay.

Nolan Hughes will take a break from work as the cyclists approach to cheer on his favorite rider, Peter Sagan. "I'm hoping he's going to kick some butt. My hope is that he comes through first," said Hughes.

Before racers hit the sprint leg in Arroyo Grande, they'll have two other sprints tomorrow in Orcutt and Guadalupe. Tomorrow night, racers move to San Jose for the start of stage six, which runs a 19 mile course.



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