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Cyclists Gearing up for a Scenic Amgen

Auburn’s wheels have been spinning as residents and business owners get ready for the Amgen Tour of California to come to town.

”Everyone’s been geared up in the area for it,” said Aron Yevuta, a cyclist and employee at Victory Velo Bike Shop. “Pretty amazing thing we can have this little touch of Europe in America.”

The race is not only the premiere cycling event for California, but for the country.

Last year, Auburn was simply a city that the tour traveled through, which was still a nice boost for the community. However, community leaders came together to become a host city, and on Tuesday Auburn will be the start of Stage Three.

“It’s good for the community, everyone’s excited about it,” said cyclist Randy Millard, “All the guys I ride with are really jacked up.”

When it comes to choosing host cities, race officials base the decision on a combination of the challenge of the course and scenery. A spokesperson for ‘Versus’, the cable channel that will provide TV coverage of the entire tour, said Stage Seven is expected to be the crown jewel of the race this year, because it features Mt. Baldy. The mountain is said to be a similar level of difficulty that cyclists find in Europe, and also beautiful to look at.

In fact, most of the central valley is not being ridden through at all. The closest the tour gets to the valley is Stage Three, which starts in Auburn and ends in Modesto.

Millard believes Auburn features what the tour is looking for. “There really is a lot of pretty areas in this county to ride,” he said. “It’s really limitless. You can ride for months and never go over the same roads again.”

While the course will give the cyclists a workout it’s doing the same for businesses.

Yevuta said Victory Velo has really benefited from Amgen’s impending arrival. “For the actual stage to start here in town we’ve really seen a big boost in business,” he said. “Even people who aren’t cyclists are into it.”

The community is expecting 20,000 people to come and watch the start of Stage Three on Tuesday.

Copyright © 2014, The Baltimore Sun