San Fernando Valley Business Journal

Amgen Tour Draws Crowds

By Elliot Golan Wednesday, May 15, 2013

The Amgen Tour of California left the greater Valley area on Wednesday as cyclists took off from Santa Clarita on the race’s 84-mile fourth stage to Santa Barbara.

The race, which has drawn big crowds to see elite cyclists from around the world, finished off its third leg in Santa Clarita on Tuesday after a tough 110-mile ride from Palmdale.

The Tuesday stage, which included a tough 22-mile climb up Lake Hughes road, drew some 10,000 spectators, including 5,000 at the finish line on Magic Mountain Parkway near the Valencia Town Center Mall.

Businesses in Santa Clarita also saw heavy crowds in the last day as the race came through town.

“We booked over 700 hotel stays for this event alone. All of our rooms in local hotels were booked,” said Evan Thomason, a spokesman for the city of Santa Clarita.

Slovakian cyclist Peter Sagan, who rides for the Italian Cannondale team, won stage three. Colombian Janier Acevedo, who won stage two on Monday, leads the race going into today.

Palmdale, which served as the start of Tuesday’s stage and has been a tour stop for three years, also saw a boost for its hospitality industry.

Jeff McElfresh, chief executive of the Palmdale Chamber of Commerce, said local hotels were booked up on Monday night.

“All the teams stayed in town,” he said. “This is great for us.”

The eight-day cycling event is title sponsored by Thousand Oaks biotech giant Amgen Inc. and owned by L.A. sports and entertainment presenter AEG Sports, a subsidiary of Anschutz Corp. of Denver. Stage three was sponsored by Crunchies Food Company LLC, a Westlake Village manufacturer of freeze-dried fruit and vegetable snacks.

This is the eighth year the race has been held, and it drew both national and international cycling teams. Cyclists started on Sunday, May 12 in Escondido, and will conclude the 750-mile event in Santa Rosa on Sunday, May 19.

Last year’s event drew more than 2 million spectators and finished at the L.A. Live entertainment complex downtown.