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Tour of California arrives Feb. 19

Posted: Monday, Feb 16th, 2009

International cyclists and an estimated 20,000 to 30,000 visitors from around the world will converge upon Paso Robles Thursday, Feb. 19 for Stage 5 of the 2009 Amgen Tour of California.

There’s plenty in store for Paso Robles residents and visitors alike to experience on race day.

Bob Stapleton, owner of San Luis Obispo-based Team Colombia, described the Amgen Tour of California, which began Feb. 14 and concludes on Sunday, Feb. 22, as the “great new Grand Tour.”

“This race has taken leaps and bounds; it’s a longer, stronger, better Amgen Tour of California,” he said during a kickoff press conference held in Sacramento. “Even in a down economy, this race can still pull off something dramatic and exciting.”

According to race organizers, cyclists are expected to arrive near the final finish line at the corner of Spring and 11th streets between 3 and 4:30 p.m.

The 130-mile route starts in Visalia. From there, riders will traverse along Highway 41 and sprint through the quiet country town of Shandon. Next, they’ll head onto Creston Road to Charolais Road to South River Road to Niblick Road, across the Niblick Bridge, take a hard right on Spring Street and make the final sprint to the finish.

Race day schedule of events

*8:30 a.m. Booster Bag Distribution at Board of Realtors, 1101 Riverside Ave.

*11 a.m. Horton Collection opens for Booster Club members in Carnegie Library/Wellness Community Central Coast Inaugural Tour of Paso begins at JUSTIN Winery

*11:30 a.m. Lifestyle Festival opens to the public, free of charge

*Noon. Booster Bleachers open at 10th and Spring streets/Bike Valet opens at 12th and Park streets/ Public parking opens at Paso Robles Event Center and lot at Fourth and Pine streets/shuttle service from Paso Robles Event Center begins

*1 p.m. Wellness Community Central Coast Inaugural Tour of Paso ends at finish line

*2 p.m. Horton Collection closes/Youth Art Contest awards on Entertainment Stage

*2:30 p.m. Breakaway Mile begins – Spring Street through ATOC Finish Line

*3 p.m. Early Race Arrival

*4 p.m. VIP Party opens at Carnegie Library via entrance to Horton Collection

*4:22 p.m. Late Race Arrival

*4:30 p.m. Lifestyle Festival closes

*5 p.m. Bike Valet closes

*6 p.m. Shuttle service ends/Public parking lots close

*7 p.m. VIP Party closes

Lifestyle Festival

The action kicks off at 11:30 a.m. on Thursday at Downtown City Park.

The festival will feature entertainment, three Jumbotron televisions, a Kid’s Zone with giant inflatable attractions, face painters, clowns, food booths and vendors both local and national.

The Jumbotrons give race spectators the chance to view the racers while meandering around the festival or want a larger-than-life view of the racers.

One Jumbotron screen is going up on the west side of Downtown City Park between 11th and 12th streets and will face into the park. A second Jumbotron will be at the southwest corner of Park and 11th streets. A third will be located on the east side of Spring Street between Ninth and 10th streets — for exclusive viewing at the Booster Club bleachers.

An awards stage will be situated at the corner of 11th and Spring streets on the east side of the street. The entertainment stage will be located near the middle of City Park facing Spring St.

Spectators looking for additional viewing opportunities and VIP access can sign up for the Booster Club.

Booster club members were invited to a kickoff party held at Kennedy Club Fitness, 500 S. River Road, on Monday and on race day receive admission to view the Horton Collection, what organizers called a “museum-quality cycling exhibit” on display inside the Carnegie Library. Members also have access to the Booster Bleachers, located on the West side of Spring at 10th street and their own Jumbotron.

All Paso Robles Public Schools are having an early release day at approximately 12:30 p.m., varying by school, to help ease traffic concerns and to make it possible for students to participate in the Lifestyle Festival and watch the race, race organizers said.


Residents should be aware of some major closures that will occur throughout the tour route, among them:

A quadrant from Ninth to 13th streets and Spring to Pine streets will be closed the day before race day beginning at 7 p.m. on Wednesday, Feb. 18 to allow officials time to construct the event and will last through 7 p.m. on Friday, Feb. 19.

The race day route will run from Creston Road, down Charolais Road to South River Road. The tour moves down River Road to Niblick Road, up over the bridge to Spring Street, where riders will turn right and head down Spring Street toward the finish line. All areas surrounding the route will be closed for the race and the Spring Street offramp from Highway 101 will also be closed.

Parking and Shuttle

Paid parking is available for $5 dollar per car at the Paso Robles Event Center, 2198 Riverside Ave. Free shuttle service will run from event center to downtown from noon to 6 p.m.

Parking is also available at Fourth and Spring Street, walking distance to the route. The dirt lots at each location will be closed if it rains.

“The Paso Robles Police Department asks to please allow plenty of time to get to and from your destination, as traffic delays are expected and shuttle capacity is limited,” a release states.

A bike valet service courtesy of the San Luis Obispo Bicycle Coalition will be located at the corner of 12th and Park streets from noon to 5 p.m. on race day. There is no charge. For more information, call 547-2055.

Here are the top viewing sites in Paso Robles on race day, according to organizers:

*Spring and 10th streets

*Anywhere on Spring Street between First and 12th streets

*Crawford W. Clarke Memorial Park, Shandon.

*Kennedy Club Fitness is throwing a watch party for members and their guests. For more information, call 239-8488.

*Still Waters Vineyards, 2750 Old Grove Lane, is hosting a tailgate party from their Creston Road vineyard and tasting room location. For more information, call 237-9231.

*Franklin Hot Springs, 3085 Creston Road is hosting a watch party and barbecue to benefit Highlands Church youth program. For more information, call 712-5372.

For more information on street and road closure information, call the city’s local Amgen hotline at 227-7242.

General race information can be found online at www.prcity.com.

For the complete article see the 02-17-2009 issue.

Click here to purchase an electronic version of the 02-17-2009 paper.

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