<b>PASSING THROUGH:</b>  The Amgen Tour of California returns to Santa Barbara for the first time since 2008.

Paul Wellman (file)

PASSING THROUGH: The Amgen Tour of California returns to Santa Barbara for the first time since 2008.

Tour de Santa Barbara

Amgen Tour of California Bicycle Race Comes to the American Riviera

Thursday, May 9, 2013
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For eight days starting Sunday, May 12, millions of California residents will not need passports to experience a major European sporting spectacle. It’s coming to a town near them.

Inspired by the Tour de France, the legendary multistage bicycle race that celebrates its 100th running this summer, the 2013 Amgen Tour of California (ATOC) will send 16 international and domestic teams of professional cyclists from mountain-rimmed Escondido, through the Coachella Valley desert landscape, and to the coast of Santa Barbara, where it turns north past vineyards and strawberry fields to Avila Beach, the summit of Mount Diablo, and across the Golden Gate Bridge.

It’s fitting that Santa Barbara, which bills itself as “the American Riviera,” has a position of prominence in this eighth edition of the California race, hosting both the finish of Stage 4 on Wednesday, May 15, and the start of Stage 5 on Thursday, May 16. The riders return to Santa Barbara for the first time since 2008 because AEG, the sports/entertainment conglomerate that owns the race, opted for stunning scenery rather than just the highest bidding cities. “AEG wanted a great coastal backdrop for the race,” said Barney Berglund, cochair of the local organizing committee. “They worked with us to make it affordable.”

The Santa Barbara Conference & Visitors Bureau is backing the event in hopes it will bring tourists to town — in addition to the 600-strong delegation of cyclists, support crews, and race officials — and shine an attractive global spotlight on the city during the worldwide telecast. For residents, it’s an opportunity to see world-class riders up close and personal as they race over two days through the entire county, from Carpinteria to Guadalupe.

• How to Ride and Watch the 2013 Amgen Tour of California: Expert cyclists and fans share their tips on excelling in and enjoying the race.

• Recapping Past Amgen Tours of California: Brief histories of the past seven rides.

• Straight Dope on Doping: Amgen Tour enacts strict rules after Lance Armstrong and other stars get caught cheating.

• Dave Lettieri on Bicycle Technology: A look at what it takes to build a bike fit for the Amgen Tour of California.

• Bicycle Race Glossary: Here’s a guide to terms that you’ll hear during the Amgen Tour of California.

• Watch Amgen Tour from Home: Television schedule for the 2013 Amgen Tour of California.

• Amgen Cyclists to See: A rundown of who to look out for in this year’s Amgen Tour of California.


Independent Discussion Guidelines

oh crap, it's back! Thanks for the warning; will be sure we are out of town when this mess reappears.

Holly (anonymous profile)
May 10, 2013 at 12:21 a.m. (Suggest removal)


I agree.

howgreenwasmyvalley (anonymous profile)
May 13, 2013 at 8:51 a.m. (Suggest removal)

@Holly and Howgreen: enjoy your holiday, and please don't feel like you have to hurry back. I'm looking forward to watching these champion athletes and hope they enjoy their visit!

hodgmo (anonymous profile)
May 13, 2013 at 10:33 a.m. (Suggest removal)


Fine if you like "City Sissies", in spandex, pumped full of growth hormone.

Some don't consider that athletic.

My people have been in the West since 1675, California since 1775.

It's a cultural difference, I don't care for yours.

Now an good old Ranchero Roundup and barbecue, that is another story.

I doubt you East-coasters could handle the work or the spice.

howgreenwasmyvalley (anonymous profile)
May 13, 2013 at 12:21 p.m. (Suggest removal)

@Howgreen: what an arrogant, intolerant and ignorant post! have you ever ridden a bike as far as these people plan to? do you really think they are all, or even mostly, using drugs? further, if your people have been here so long, and you don't like what they've made CA into, that's your problem. Unless you are one, your ancestors chased the native americans away and their survivors may have similar sentiments towards you and yours as you express toward late comers. Sounds like you need a stiff dose of Maalox....

hodgmo (anonymous profile)
May 13, 2013 at 1:09 p.m. (Suggest removal)

hodgmo, HGWMV often writes such gibberish. See, his people have been here since 1675 and he's part of the Visitadores and...well, he's just very special. And completely closed-minded.

DrDan (anonymous profile)
May 13, 2013 at 1:14 p.m. (Suggest removal)

Or we don't like the road riders because of the road arrogance?

dadof3 (anonymous profile)
May 13, 2013 at 1:37 p.m. (Suggest removal)

I agree with dadof3, there are a lot of arrogant 'road riders' out there. Of course the ones in cars do the most damage.

"In 2009, the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration reported that 630 bicyclists were killed in crashes with motor vehicles and 51,000 were injured. These numbers represent approximately 2 percent of the total number of people killed and injured in traffic crashes. In 2000, the number of fatalities dipped below the 700 mark for the first time in the past decade"

"Obviously with 677 deaths per year, there are risks associated with riding a bicycle. Bicycle fatalities represent just over two percent of all traffic fatalities, and yet bicycle trips account for one percent of all trips in the United States. However, bicycling remains a healthful, inherently safe activity for tens of millions of people every year."

Cars and bicylists need to be courteous to each other, share the road, and both need to understand and obey driving laws.

hodgmo (anonymous profile)
May 13, 2013 at 2:17 p.m. (Suggest removal)

What is arrogant is the way these bike racers expect (and succeed in getting) roads and entire towns shut down just so they can get their testosterone rush. Forget the fact that people need to run their businesses, get from Point A to Point B, no--the bike racing culture takes precedent.

So much for "sharing the road".

billclausen (anonymous profile)
May 13, 2013 at 3:07 p.m. (Suggest removal)

No I DO NOT consider any sport that gets it edge from IV Needles and the Drug of the Month Club, a sport nor the contestants Champions.

Real Athletes, Jim Thorpe and Jesse Owens come to mind, are cheapened by the Frauds of Todays, follow the money.

Amgen, what business are they in?


"and please don't feel like you have to hurry back",

You gave me a carpetbagger response, right back at you. Pot calling the kettle black, offend you?

@danny boy,

Isn't it time for another wilderness trip, schools almost out?

"Call sometime Paradise, kiss it goodbye", Don Henley

howgreenwasmyvalley (anonymous profile)
May 13, 2013 at 4:28 p.m. (Suggest removal)

@Danny Boy,

I forgot. Running down the beach this morning I saved a baby seal, Peter is a Saint, and felt pretty good about it. Still scanning I bumped into, right by the Mesa Stairs, litter from Homo-Academious City College, two used condoms, one in the wrapper and several boutique beer bottles. It was gross and bio-hazzard dangerous but I picked up the garbage, for the children. I wish the Piled Higher and Deeper Crowd would please train their pupils to pickup after themselves, little kids and residents like to use the beach too, we don't need any additional pollution for the surfers.

howgreenwasmyvalley (anonymous profile)
May 13, 2013 at 4:53 p.m. (Suggest removal)

This year Amgen paid $762 million in fines for "illegal Drug marketing".

Ken_Volok (anonymous profile)
May 13, 2013 at 5:18 p.m. (Suggest removal)

@howgreen: no offense taken. I was taken aback by your support of a narrow, negative and nasty response to a positive activity. Your subsequent posts indicate you don't understand bicycling or bicyclists at all. Your view is akin to thinking all ranchers and cowboys sit around their blazin’ saddle campfire, burning bright on federally subsidized land, eating beans, producing green-house gases, and uttering garbled semi-literate anti-government opinions while mindlessly shooting their guns into the air. And regardless of your admirable litter collection efforts, if you think the piled high and deeps are responsible for uncouth, unmannerly young slob-like behavior, you don’t understand parenting and its responsibilities, and the complementary role of teaching, which can only build on and add to what parents deliver to the class room.

@BC: Are you against the Fiesta and Solstice and all other parades, and community events that temporarily shut down streets, like the farmer’s market, or are you simply grumpy and inconsistent?

hodgmo (anonymous profile)
May 13, 2013 at 5:36 p.m. (Suggest removal)

ahh, Peter is a Saint, and loves himself and his oldtime dreams...oh, and I do wilderness trips all year, not just summer...if you knew much about summer camping locally you'd know it seldom happens...oh yea, you're a jogger and a horseman/woman...ride on, Tonto

DrDan (anonymous profile)
May 13, 2013 at 6:38 p.m. (Suggest removal)

@Danny Boy,

If you don't know Peter and the wonderful work he does for Marine Mammals, its your loss, some people do, at great sacrifice, and those who can't teach. It is the story as old as time itself.


So you are fine with students trashing the place and accept no responsibility for it. Many locals have adopted spots up and down the coast cleaning up the messes left, Monday morning is always the biggest day day for business. My neighbor who has been surfing here since 1948, got me started but it is a sum zero game. Maybe you can pass another law or regulation against littering, that will do it, fix everything LOL.

I did not own a car until I was 20, a bicycle was my mode of transportation, old steel frame, heavy by todays standards, I guess I missed something.

howgreenwasmyvalley (anonymous profile)
May 13, 2013 at 7:41 p.m. (Suggest removal)

@howgreen: you are missing – a lot. My point was that the behavior of trashy kids is due to their trashy upbringing and has little or nothing to do with their teachers; was that unclear? How can you blame piled-high-and-deeps for poor upbringing? I would think a self-styled old timer like you would know better. And where did you get the idea that I suggested another law against littering? Perhaps you’re patting yourself on the back too hard. Go ride a bike and get some fresh air.

hodgmo (anonymous profile)
May 13, 2013 at 10:09 p.m. (Suggest removal)

@BC: Are you against the Fiesta and Solstice and all other parades, and community events that temporarily shut down streets, like the farmer’s market, or are you simply grumpy and inconsistent?

hodgmo (anonymous profile)
May 13, 2013 at 5:36 p.m

I AM grumpy, and I try not to be inconsistent.

The Amgen tour shuts down the entire town of Solvang, not just a few streets so the examples you raise cannot be compared to the Amgen tour.

Even though a number of business owners have objected to this tour, they aren't the businesses that are in bed with the powers-that-be.

As for Fiesta, I don't celebrate something which commemorates the destruction of a culture, and as for Summer Solstice, it seems harmless enough but I'm not into the big crowd scene so I stay away from it all.

billclausen (anonymous profile)
May 14, 2013 at 3:36 a.m. (Suggest removal)

@BC: Sounds like you have a problem with the city of Solvang, not with a legit bicycle event. The events I listed are comparable in the sense that in both cases significant public areas are shut down for a specialized event. It gives joy to some and inconveniences others. There are pros and cons associated with living in a city or town, and they aren't the same for each citizen. While I agree there are rude bicyclists out there, and some of their behavior is inexcusable, they are a minority. Bicycling in general is a great activity and should be encouraged.

hodgmo (anonymous profile)
May 14, 2013 at 7:30 a.m. (Suggest removal)

I do know Peter and he does great work. How did you find a criticism in my comments, esp. about Peter?
When you write the old saw, "some people do, at great sacrifice, and those who can't teach" I gotta chuckle at you oldtimer...try making an original comment to the point.
Amgen is OK but we sacrifice a lot when they come BC wrote.

DrDan (anonymous profile)
May 14, 2013 at 11:08 a.m. (Suggest removal)

Hodgmo: Your attempt to distract the issue won't change the fact that Amgen has imposed itself on the city of Solvang. The fact that the city of Solvang is a problem does not mean Amgen isn't equally a part of this problem.

billclausen (anonymous profile)
May 14, 2013 at 2:48 p.m. (Suggest removal)

BC: As the saying goes, there's nothing wrong with asking. If the Amgen event organizers asked and Solvang said yes, then the problem, if there is one, lies with the permission process, not the requestor. Your crank issue is with Solvang not the bike tour.

hodgmo (anonymous profile)
May 14, 2013 at 4:23 p.m. (Suggest removal)

it's true, BC, you've criticized Solvang and the StaYnezValley before as having sold out to the business interests, wineries, the casino (I am very much against its expansion and the status switch of Camp 4 property, so with you there), and how the area has lost its rural and family feeling of yore.
Dunno if it's a crank issue, but the Amgen tour is a little different...lots of folks enjoy it... I personally would never watch, preferring to just get on my own simple bike and pedal a few miles...

DrDan (anonymous profile)
May 14, 2013 at 5:11 p.m. (Suggest removal)

I know what you mean Dr. Dan, it's kinda like watching other people exercise and have fun.

Ken_Volok (anonymous profile)
May 14, 2013 at 5:26 p.m. (Suggest removal)

"A wise man never warms himself by the picture of a fire."

hodgmo (anonymous profile)
May 14, 2013 at 5:41 p.m. (Suggest removal)

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