The 2013 Amgen Tour of California kicked off in downtown Escondido on Sunday, drawing a massive crowd of cheering spectators.
The multi-city, eight-day professional cycling event began with a 103-mile road cycling race around Escondido, beginning and ending at Grand Avenue and Broadway.
Sunday marked the first “stage” of the 2013 Amgen Tour, which now goes on to other cities across California, including Murrieta, Palm Springs, Palmdale, Santa Clarita, Santa Barbara, Avila Beach, San Jose, Livermore, Mt. Diablo, San Francisco and Santa Rosa, where the eight-day race will finish on May 19.
For the Escondido portion of the event, thousands of spectators gathered on the sidelines to cheer on 16 of the world’s top professional cycling teams as they made their way through the local route.
One of those spectators was Escondido resident Micah Trujillo, who said it was exciting to see so many people gathered for such a positive event.
“[There’s] a lot of excitement, a lot of people coming together for a great event like a bike ride and something that’s good for the body and the soul,” Trujillo told NBC 7.
Escondido resident Ben Mangaoang said he couldn’t wait to see the professional cyclists at work.
“It’s a great day with this race. I’m excited, I want to watch these guys climb up the hill, I know it will be exhausting. I want to see them close by,” said Mangaoang.
Audrey Johnson said she was impressed by the endurance of the cycling teams -- especially in the Escondido heat.
“It’s exciting to be here and watch them. I’m happy for all of them, but it is so hot -- I feel bad for them,” she said.
Portland resident Todd Shew, who used to live in Escondido, also came out to watch the grueling race.
“They’ve got a lot of hard climbing before they finish,” he said.
The Escondido stage of the Amgen Tour of California wrapped up at the finish line at Grand Avenue and Broadway around 3:30 p.m. A festival was held throughout the day for spectators and participants featuring live entertainment, vendors and food.
For more details about the 2013 Amgen Tour, including which cities the cycling teams are headed to next, visit this website.