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Bob Kellar: Amgen rolls into Santa Clarita

Live from City Hall

Posted: February 12, 2009 9:03 p.m.
Updated: February 13, 2009 4:55 a.m.

Bob Kellar Santa Clarita City Council

 
On Saturday, Feb. 21, the Amgen Tour of California returns to the city of Santa Clarita for the third consecutive year. The race has grown to be the largest cycling event in North America.

This spectacular event brings past Olympians and Tour de France winners, including superstar Lance Armstrong, to Santa Clarita to compete in one of the most prestigious sporting events in the world.

The 2009 Amgen Tour of California is a Tour de France-style cycling road race presented by AEG that challenges the world's top professional cycling teams to compete along a demanding, recently expanded, 750-mile course from Sacramento to Escondido from February 14-22, 2009.

This year's race covers some of the most challenging terrain and beautiful scenery that California has to offer. Along the eight-day trek from Sacramento to Escondido, riders will endure sprints, mountain climbs and a time trial.

American Levi Leipheimer, from team Astana, is the current two-time defending champion of the race and is sure to face intense competition from many of the world's top cyclists.

Having witnessed it first hand in 2008, the stage start provides a unique fan experience as Amgen Tour of California riders will be available for autographs and pictures at "Autograph Alley" prior to opening ceremonies.

Among the activities for the start will be a Tricycle Tournament, sponsored by Providence Holy Cross Medical Center, where competitors of all ages will race along Town Center Drive.

Opening ceremonies will also feature dignitaries, an honor guard, a performance of the National Anthem by a local teen and entertainers from Six Flags Magic Mountain.

All the action leads up to the crack of the starter's pistol at noon where fans can cheer on Lance Armstrong and the world's top cyclists as they head out of Santa Clarita.

Special viewing parties along Town Center Drive will be held at both Salt Creek Grille and Vines Restaurant and Bar, located inside the Hyatt, between 7 p.m. and 9 p.m. from Monday, Feb. 16 to Friday, Feb. 20. The viewing parties are a great way to join fellow race fans and watch the riders' progress as they blast through California toward Santa Clarita.

As a Councilmember, I am proud of the city's association with the Amgen Tour of California for many reasons, including the fact that title sponsor Amgen has raised millions of dollars towards the fight against cancer- their dedication should be applauded.

Additionally, the Amgen Tour of California benefits our local economy by consistently bringing in more than a million dollars in economic impact each time it races through our streets.

The race is a family-friendly event that promotes our healthy lifestyle, offers world-class competition and is completely free and open to the public. I hope you'll take the time to visit the City's Web site at www.santa-clarita.com/tourofca to visit our sponsors and find out more about the race.

Having witnesses the Amgen Tour of California first hand, I know that it is going to blow the roof off this town.

Bob Kellar is council member of the City of Santa Clarita. His column reflects his own views and not necessarily those of The Signal.

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