5/16:  Cycling: Amgen Tour of California, Stage 5 | It is one of the longest stages in the 14-year history of America’s greatest professional cycling race. It will start Thursday morning in Pismo Beach and finish 136.4 miles later on Harbor Drive in Ventura. The route will follow Foxen Canyon Road to Highway 154 in the Santa Ynez Valley. The riders will seek “king of the mountain” points by racing to the summit of San Marcos Pass (ETA: 12:55pm). Then they will descend at 50 mph into Santa Barbara. It was on that downhill that Taylor Phinney daringly sped away from the pack en route to a stage victory in 2014, when the finish was on Cabrillo Boulevard. This time, the route will skirt the foothills on Highway 192 through Montecito and Carpinteria, climbing again over Casitas Pass around 2:10 p.m. The field comprises 132 riders on 19 professional teams, including such standouts as three-time world champion Peter Sagan, who claimed his 17th California stage win on Sunday in Sacramento. Wearing the leader’s yellow jersey after Stage 2 was Tejay van Garderen, one of 25 U.S. riders in the mix. Stage 6 on Friday will be a decisive climb up Mt. Baldy, and the final stage Saturday will finish in Pasadena. The NBC Sports Network will televise Thursday’s race live from 1 to 4 p.m. Visit amgentourofcalifornia.com.


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