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Tour of California heads out of town

Posted: May 17, 2014 7:24 p.m.
Updated: May 17, 2014 7:24 p.m.

The top riders take off from the starting line of stage 7 of the Amgen Tour of California cycling race, which left the Westfield Valencia Town Center on Saturday morning.

 

For the second straight day, the 2014 Amgen Tour of California took off from the Santa Clarita Valley, with riders launching Saturday from the Westfield Valencia Town Center on their way to Pasadena.

On Friday, riders took off from Newhall and headed to Mountain High before coming back to Santa Clarita for the start of Saturday’s stage.

“We’ve got another great turnout today for the second start here in Santa Clarita,” said City Councilman Bob Kellar. ”There’s a lot of people out here and it’s not quite as hot, so I think people are enjoying themselves a little more than they did yesterday.”

Saturday’s stage start drew quite a crowd to Valencia.

Santa Clarita resident Ramon Rebel, who originally hails from Holland, said he has come out to watch the event for the past few years.

“We grew up on bicycles, so we love bicycles,” he said. “So whenever we see a bicycle race, that’s where we’re going.”
His sister, Marina, was visiting from Holland Saturday, and also came out to watch the race.

“I saw the Tour de France and it was wonderful,” she said. “So it’s nice to see it in the American way.”

When asked what was the difference between the two tours, Marina quipped, “The weather.”

Another Santa Clarita resident, Kim Jones, also said she has come to watch the race before as it rolled through the Santa Clarita Valley.

“My husband is a cyclist,” she said. “He rides and that’s why we’re here.

“But I love cycling and I think it’s just a fun race,” she said. “We’ve come like for the last four years, so it’s fantastic, I love it.”

It wasn’t just onlookers that turned out to watch the riders take off. Pat Willett was volunteering Saturday.

“It’s great fun watching the start,” she said. “Last year we had the finish here, too, and that was exciting.

“But it’s just fun to watch them all go out, it’s amazing,” she said.

Mayor Laurene Weste said she was pleased the tour once again returned to Santa Clarita this year.

“We’re so excited to have them back,” she said. “This is our second day, and it just doesn’t get better than this. We’re a bike community and we love this, we want them back.”

City Councilman Dante Acosta said hosting the tour could help bring some exposure to the city.

“It’s great to have back-to-back events for the tour,” he said. “The economic development to the city is fantastic and it brings us a lot of national and international exposure, which is great for our future tourism.”

This year’s tour ends today in Thousand Oaks.

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