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Tour of California will go through Cambria this time

It appears Amgen Tour of California riders will head down Main Street in Cambria when the 144-mile fifth stage of the bicycle race is held May 19.

For the first time, the riders will take Main Street and then head to Santa Rosa Creek Road and race to the stage’s finish line in Paso Robles, according to a story published this week by VeloNews, a publication that covers professional cycling.

The sixth annual Tour of California, a stage race like the Tour de France, will spend eight days traveling through the state. Cyclists will begin the race at Lake Tahoe on May 15 and finish in Thousand Oaks on May 22. Altogether, the tour will cover more than 800 miles.

The race will be broadcast live to 90 countries around the world, said Andrew Messick, president of AEG, which owns the tour.

Messick told VeloNews that Stage 5 may be the hardest to predict.

“Santa Rosa Creek Road is hard, with a few 20-percent-plus pitches,” he told VeloNews. “It’s narrow, and it can be windy. It’s not going to be a field sprint. It’s a beautiful, remote climb, and it’s hard.”

The tour’s peloton stayed on Highway 1 down Big Sur and through Cambria, bypassing the village’s business district, in 2006, 2007 and 2008 on the way to finishes in San Luis Obispo.

In 2009, a stage began in Visalia and ended in Paso Robles. In 2010, the tour’s fifth year, it moved the event from February to May and skipped the Central Coast altogether.

Cambria business representatives excited about the tour’s return already are rallying enthusiasts for a big turnout to show support for the racers and the event itself.

“Wow! Huge — if we support it,” Mary Ann Carson, executive director of the town’s Chamber of Commerce, said in an e-mail. “This is televised all over the world, and we look pretty good, you know!”

A tour representative declined to confirm the stage’s route. Paso Robles officials will release the exact details of the Stage 5 route at a news conference today.

Stage 5 starts in Seaside, north of Monterey. Stage 6 is a series of individual time trials in Solvang on May 20.

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