Tri-county cyclists will have the chance to ride like the pros and with them on April 24.
Organizers of the Amgen Tour of California professional bike race said Dec. 8 that an April 24 preview ride will take place along the Stage 3 route for the 2016 Tour of California. During the preview ride, fans will also ride with former professional cyclists Jens Voigt and Fred Rodriguez.
The stage on May 17 will start in Thousand Oaks, where Amgen is headquartered, and run to Gibraltar Road in Santa Barbara. Along the way, the ride will descend through the Santa Monica Mountain Range, cruise through Oxnard’s strawberry fields and along the sea in Ventura.
That stage will finish on Gibraltar Road, which is steep at an 8 percent grade, and mark the first finish of a stage on a mountain in the race’s history. Organizers said improved road conditions made the finish on Gibraltar Road possible.
The 2016 Tour of California is just the second of 11 of the races to run south to north through California. Stage 4 on May 18 will run from Morro Bay to Monterey County along the Pacific Coast Highway.
Rodriguez said the Stage 3 route would be great at an October news conference.
“When you go into Santa Barbara they’re not long climbs, but it’s hilly and it’s fast,” Rodriguez said. “Santa Barbara has always been a beautiful city to start from, so to finish there it’s going to be gorgeous.”
• Contact Philip Joens at [email protected].