Fighting to Beat Cancer, One Pedal at a Time: The Amgen Bike Tour Rolling By!

Amgen Tour of California returns to Ventura County

By Lori Denman-Underhill

Poised and ready for take-off are approximately 117 bicycle riders in 17 teams, ready to cruise through Ventura once again for the Amgen Tour of California on Monday, May 14.

Amgen, a company based in biotechnology, has been holding the Tour de France-style road race for cyclists for 11 years. The company and the ride’s goal is to raise awareness and funds for cancer research.

Ventura was chosen as a destination for the race for many reasons.

Ventura showcases so much of what makes California great, from the rolling hills to sparkling Pacific,” said an Amgen spokesperson to Citizens Journal. “There is also a tremendous city history, all adding up to a great experience for these cyclists from across the globe, as well as the local fans and those traveling with the race that come to see the best athletes in the world and the beautiful California scenery.”

The riders also enjoy Ventura, added the spokesperson. “The Amgen Tour of California passed through Ventura last year, and we heard from cyclists and fans alike about the challenging terrain, enjoyable views and local enthusiasm. This included the school kids that got together to make the iconic Ventura logo, which was seen from the helicopters above by millions of race viewers.

“Additionally, Visit Ventura has been wonderful about making sure these riders from across the globe, and those fans watching online and on NBC Sports Network understand why Ventura is such a fantastic tourist destination.”

While our friends on two wheels work to raise funds, our community driving on four wheels should take note and precaution of their designated routes, which can be found at their site. Road closures are also listed.

The week-long men’s race boasts itself as being the only men’s cycling event in America on the UCI WorldTour calendar. It kicks off in Long Beach on May 13 and ends in Sacramento on May 19. The three-day women’s race is also a UCI WordTour race. It goes from Elk Grove on May 17, then to South Lake Tahoe and ends in Sacramento on May 19.

This year, riders entering Ventura can expect some new surprises. “The celebration in Ventura will consist of four separate activation points to show Ventura’s community spirit and represent the first time a stage start has seen a celebration of its kind,” continued the Amgen spokesperson.

“It begins at the Ventura Pier where giant kites accompanied by aerialists will cyclists, their teams, media, and onlookers to the race and lifestyle festival,” he added. “Once the race starts, the cyclists will make their way to Main Street where the students of Holy Cross School will shout and, cheer and wave signs from Mission Park as Ventura’s new historic mural shines across the street. Just in front of the mission steps, Ballet Folklorico Bell Arts dancers in costume will welcome the cyclists to the beat of mariachis paying tribute to Ventura’s Latin roots.”

Upon reaching Plaza Park, cyclists will be welcomed by the Ventura homeschool community along with their friends and family who have prepared a wheel formation featuring giant Ventura-branded parachutes.

On Sunday, May 13 the race runs down Los Angeles Drive in Simi Valley and on Monday, it ventures through Camarillo at noon and hits the Ventura Pier at 4pm. Drivers are asked to take the 101 freeway during those times.

Amgen hasalso founded Breakaway from Cancer® and Breakaway from Heart Disease™.

Visit https://www.amgentourofcalifornia.comfor more information.


Lori Denman-Underhill has worked as a Senior Associate Editor, Los Angeles Daily News TODAY Magazines, freelance photo journalist, and is now the Ventura reporter for Citizens Journal

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