This version corrects a misstatement that this is the first Amgen race that has started and finished in San Luis Obispo County. Two years ago, the race started in Pismo Beach and finished in Avila Beach.
More than a dozen Spandex-clad bicyclists rode from Morro Rock to the Embarcadero on Wednesday morning to celebrate the announcement that San Luis Obispo County will host an entire stage of the Amgen Tour of California bicycle race, with a start in Pismo Beach and a finish in Morro Bay.
The Amgen race is one of the nation’s most prestigious cycling events, and hosting the end of the May 16 stage is a feather in the cap for Morro Bay, Mayor Jamie Irons said.
“This is a tremendous achievement for us,” he said.
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This year, Morro Bay hosted the start of a stage that ended at the Laguna Seca Raceway in Monterey County. Two years ago, the race began in Pismo Beach and finished in Avila Beach.
Hosting the finish of a stage is significant because it will bring national news coverage to the city and will also draw hundreds of cycling enthusiasts who will spend much of the day in Morro Bay waiting for the riders to arrive, said Jennifer Little, Morro Bay’s tourism manager.
“We are very excited to be a hosting community,” she said. “It is also a great opportunity to showcase the entire Central Coast region.”
The race’s finish in Morro Bay is expected to cost $57,000. Of that, $25,000 will come from the city’s Tourism Business Improvement District and the remainder will supplied by Visit San Luis Obispo County, the county’s tourism bureau, said Aaron Graves, a Visit SLO County board member.
The details of the route through San Luis Obispo County are still being worked out. Race organizers described the Central Coast and San Luis Obispo County as a longtime favorite of race participants.
The final leg of the San Luis Obispo County stage will be an uphill jaunt through the streets of Morro Bay that will be a good showcase for a sprinter, organizers said.
The Tour of California is an eight-day professional cycling race that was first held in 2006. It covers between 650 and 700 miles through many of the various iconic landscapes in the state.
This year, the men’s race will start May 14 in Sacramento and end May 20 in Pasadena. The women’s race will start May 11 in South Lake Tahoe and end May 14 in Sacramento.
The tour is sponsored by Amgen, a large California-based biotech company.