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Amgen Cycling Tour Brings Excitement to Santa Barbara Waterfront

Enthusiastic crowd watches as American sprinter Tyler Farrar wins Stage 4 of 750-mile race

[Click here for a Noozhawk photo gallery from Wednesday’s Amgen Tour of California Stage 4 race.]

As the first of about 120 professional cyclists raced through the Coast Village Road roundabout Wednesday, an enthusiastic crowd lining Cabrillo Boulevard — and watching the riders approach on a giant screen — started to go wild.

Just moments later, those cyclists, led by American sprinter Tyler Farrar, crossed the finish line to ecstatic applause.

Wednesday’s exciting finish wrapped up day four of the Amgen Tour of California, and was the first of two days in Santa Barbara County.

The 750-mile race began on Sunday in Escondido and will conclude in Santa Rosa this Sunday, after the 128 riders work their way north up the state.

Wednesday’s stage began in Santa Clarita and wrapped up on the Santa Barbara waterfront midafternoon in the midst of nearly perfect weather.

With the first three days of the race presenting extreme temperatures, which reached 114 degrees as the riders passed through Palm Springs, and steep elevation gains, Santa Barbara’s cooler temperatures proved a welcome relief to the cyclists.

“Those first two days were pretty brutal ... [Today] was a great finish,” Farrar told reporters after the race Wednesday. “It was a pretty beautiful setting, and I’m really happy to have won today.”

Sprinter Ken Hanson, who finished second in Wednesday’s Stage 4, noted that he had lived in Santa Barbara for five years, so standing on the podium in front of friends and family was especially significant.

“It really feels like coming home,” Hanson said, commending the community for its support of cycling.

There to show their support, about 15 students from UCSB’s Collegiate Cycling Team had set up a tent close to the finish line, decked out in their riding gear.

With just a few hundred meters to go, the peloton races down Cabrillo Boulevard in Santa Barbara at the end of Stage 4 of the Tour of California. (Tom Bolton / Noozhawk photo)
With just a few hundred meters to go, the peloton races down Cabrillo Boulevard in Santa Barbara at the end of Stage 4 of the Tour of California. (Tom Bolton / Noozhawk photo)

Some rode the 12 miles from the university to watch the waterfront finish, and team captain Chris Rea, a third year student, was excited to experience his first professional cycling event.

“It’s amazing to be here to see my first pro race,” he said.

“This is the biggest day of the year in cycling,” chimed in Jake Lee, who was standing nearby and is vice president of the Santa Barbara City College Cycling Team.

Those who missed Wednesday’s action can catch Stage 5, which begins at 11 a.m. Thursday on Cabrillo Boulevard at Castillo Street, and will stretch from Santa Barbara to Avila Beach. 

Riders on Thursday will face an elevation gain of more than 2,200 feet as they traverse Highway 154 over San Marcos Pass.

Road closures that may affect Santa Barbara residents include Cabrillo Boulevard, Shoreline Drive, Meigs Road, Cliff Drive, Las Positas Road and Modoc Road, from about 11 a.m. to noon.

They will be closed just before and during the race, and will be reopened to traffic as soon as the cyclists pass through.

Noozhawk staff writer Lara Cooper can be reached at .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address). Follow Noozhawk on Twitter: @noozhawk, @NoozhawkNews and @NoozhawkBiz. Connect with Noozhawk on Facebook.

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