UPDATE: Due to the forecast of snow and low temperatures, the Amgen Tour of California organizers have decided to relocate Friday’s time trial from Big Bear Lake to the Santa Clarita area.
Toms Skujins, a 23-year-old Latvian cyclist, will wear the overall leader’s yellow jersey when 134 riders line up on Cabrillo Boulevard at the start of Stage 5 of the Amgen Tour of California on Thursday, May 14. It is the sixth time that Santa Barbara has been a host city in the 10 years that America’s most significant cycling race has toured the state.
Riders will assemble in the starting area east of Garden Street for an 11:55 a.m. send-off. They will ride through 95.7 miles of coastal mountain terrain, including climbs up Casitas Pass and through Balcom Canyon, finishing in Santa Clarita. There will be road closures through Montecito and along State Route 192 as the riders depart Santa Barbara County.
Skujins, riding for Hincapie Racing Team, claimed the leader’s jersey in Stage 3 on Tuesday when he broke away by himself and finished more than a minute ahead of the peloton near San Jose. Peter Sagan of Tinkoff-Saxo, with his third straight runner-up finish, ended the day 32 seconds behind in the overall standings.
Sagan, also from Latvia, won Stage 4 in a powerful closing surge at Avila Beach on Wednesday and cut the margin to 22 seconds by virtue of a 10-second bonus. It was Sagan’s 12th stage win in the Tour of California. Skujins, ushered by his team, managed to stay with the lead pack crossing the finish line.
The Santa Barbara-to-Santa Clarita race also may come down to a sprint finish. It will be followed by two days of reckoning, a 15-mile time trial around Big Bear Lake, and Saturday’s 80-mile grind from Ontario to a mountaintop finish at the Mount Baldy ski lift. The eighth and final stage on Sunday will go from L.A. Live in downtown Los Angeles to the Rose Bowl in Pasadena.