Cycling fans across the Central Coast once again will get a chance to see some of the world's best cyclists whiz through local streets as riders in the 12th annual Amgen Tour of California pedal from Pismo Beach Pier and through northern Santa Barbara County on Tuesday before circling back to a finish in Morro Bay.
Stage 3 of the yearly competition will see riders push off from the first diamond of the pier at 11:05 a.m., as the peloton heads south along Highway 1 through Grover Beach, Oceano and into Guadalupe during what will be the longest course of this year's seven-stage race across the state.
From Guadalupe, the peloton will continue along Highway 1 as it rolls through Orcutt before beginning to make the loop back toward San Luis Obispo County and into Nipomo, going first through Garey and Sisquoc and climbing and descending the Tespesquet Road summit.
Cyclists will pedal along Foxen Canyon Road as they head toward the 15-mile stretch of Tepusquet Road, a stretch of Highway 166 and then onto Thompson Avenue in Nipomo. From there, the peloton will head into the Village of Arroyo Grande as it makes its way toward Edna Valley and downtown San Luis Obispo.
The riders are expected to race through downtown San Luis Obispo between 2:45 and 3:15 p.m. with a high-speed mid-race sprint line planned in front of the Mission. Tuesday is the first time in a decade the race has gone through San Luis Obispo.
From start to finish, Tuesday's course is 119.6 miles, with 17 teams consisting of eight athletes racing. The riders include Tour de France stage winners, Olympians, and world and national cycling champions. A finish is expected about 3:45 p.m. in Morro Bay along Harbor Street.
The race kicked off on Mother's Day in Sacramento and will end Saturday, May 20, when the riders race 77.6 miles from Mountain High ski resort in the Angeles National Forest to Pasadena. On Wednesday, the cyclists will race 99.1 miles from Santa Barbara to Santa Clarita.
For more information, visit www.amgentourofcalifornia.com.
April Charlton covers Santa Barbara County for Lee Central Coast Newspapers. Follow her on Twitter@WordsDawn.
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