Downtown Ramona will be included in the first stage of the 2013 Amgen Tour of California, a professional cycling stage race that will be held May 12 to May 19.
“It’s a very exciting event. It’s an international event. It’s like the Tour de France,” said Kirk Newell, owner of Kirk’s Bike Shop in Ramona.
Amgen announced its routes on Feb. 12.
The first stage of the race will begin and finish in Escondido on May 12. The route that day will take cyclists through San Pasqual Valley and up State Route 78 into Ramona. Cyclists will then turn east and follow Main Street to Third Street and then take Old Julian Highway to Santa Ysabel. The route then goes north on State Route 79 to Mesa Grande Road to the Lake Henshaw area. It heads northwest to Palomar Mountain and then eventually back to Escondido. Amgen said the climb up Mount Palomar “is often compared to the arduous Alpe d’Huez at the Tour de France.” The entire route, according to Amgen, is 104.3 miles.
“This is the first time ever the Tour of California is coming through Ramona,” said resident and cycling enthusiast Joe Cahak.
A tour in 2009 started in Rancho Bernardo and finished in Escondido, but did not include Ramona.
Although it will only take about three minutes for the cyclists to travel through town, Newell said, there will be a parade of support cars behind them and helicopters filming above. The event draws thousands of people, he added.
The other stages of the Tour of California are: Murrieta to Greater Palm Springs, Palmdale to Santa Clarita, Santa Clarita to Santa Barbara, Santa Barbara to Avila Beach, San Jose, Livermore to Summit of Mount Diablo, and San Francisco to Santa Rosa.
For more , visit www.amgentourofcalifornia.com.