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Fifth stage of Tour of California cycle race to end at Bakersfield College

Gregory D. Cook

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The official routes for all of the stages of this summer’s Amgen Tour of California have been released, confirming Bakersfield College as the finish line of the fifth stage of the cycling race.

The race is the largest professional cycling event in America and will challenge riders such as three-time Tour of California defending champion Levi Leipheimer and seven-time Tour de France champion Lance Armstrong with a route of more than 800 miles broken into eight daily stages beginning in Nevada City, Calif., on May 16, and ending in Thousand Oaks on May 23.

Bakersfield will host the finish of the fifth stage of the race May 20. Racers will start in Visalia and follow 121.5-mile course winding through the foothills and mountains north of Bakersfield, through Lindsay, Porterville and Glenville before climbing up the Panorama bluffs three times for a circuit finish at Bakersfield College. Stage five will also have riders climbing 14 percent grades up to a maximum elevation of nearly 3,500 feet. Riders are expected to take five to six hours to complete the stage.

Kerry Ryan, president of the Bakersfield Sports Foundation, is happy with the route. “I’m very pleased with it,” said Ryan. “This should be one of the two stages that really breaks open the race.” He explained that stages with a lot of climbs serve to separate the riders from one another and offer better viewing for the fans at the finish.

“I wish it could be longer, but they do the run to Big Bear the next day,” Ryan said, referring to the sixth stage of the race, a grueling climb from Pasadena to Big Bear, which will see the riders climbing to nearly 8,000 feet at some points.

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The news site of Bakersfield College
Fifth stage of Tour of California cycle race to end at Bakersfield College