gmhTODAY 19 gmhToday April May 2018 - Page 19

O n May 16 th , the City of Morgan Hill will make its debut as host to Stage 4 of the Amgen Tour of California— the Men’s Time Trials. World-class cyclists will speed along a scenic 21.6-mile course that begins and ends in downtown Morgan Hill. For the riders it’s a test of strategy, physical conditioning, and skill as they race against the clock. For spectators it’s a rare opportunity to meet world-class athletes and enjoy a first-class experience of the race. In this year’s “Race of Truth,” riders will depart from downtown heading West on Dunne Avenue, taking Dewitt Avenue to circumnavigate the City’s iconic El Toro peak. The peloton will journey northward along Oak Glen Road past Chesbro Reservoir, climb about 800 feet along McKean Road, then head east on Bailey and south on Santa Teresa-Hale, catching a bit of downhill before the final eight miles to the finish back in downtown Morgan Hill. The tour lineup includes two pro competitive teams In Their Wheelhouse Amgen is the Title Sponsor and a race partner since the tour’s inception. The Bay Area-based company is a biotechnology industry pioneer and world leader. The Amgen Tour of California, and the Amgen Tour of California Women’s Race empowered with SRAM, are created and presented by AEG, a world leader in sports and entertainment productions. Morgan Hill’s invitation to host the Time Trial originated with the San Jose Sports Authority (SJSA), a nonprofit that works to increase the City of San Jose’s economic development through sports events and programs. SJSA Executive Director John Poch said that when Amgen Tour organizers approached the Authority late last year to host the Stage 4 Time Trial, “We immediately thought of Morgan Hill. Knowing Edith Ramirez and others on the City of Morgan Hill staff are working to attract sports tour- ism to Morgan Hill, we invited them to split the race between our two cities. Together we have a large population of cyclists, and Morgan Hill offers a great locale with a strong downtown core to sup- port this event.” “For the riders, Stage 4 is very exciting,” Poch said. “They’ll enjoy the terrain and the challenge of the course. They’re competing for positioning on the leaderboard as individuals, for their teams, and for their sponsoring brands.” GILROY • MORGAN HILL • SAN MARTIN sponsored by Specialized Bicycle Components of Morgan Hill. According to Sam Benedict, General Manager of Specialized, “It’s hard to measure just how important the Amgen Tour of California is for Morgan Hill, but smaller cities that host stage races can see a big influx of tourism. The Specialized teams have very fast riders including Peter Sagan, a three-time world champion. They’re usually traveling and competing all over the world, so it’s exciting to have them here in our home town.” The overall tour begins in Long Beach on May 13 th and concludes on May 19th at the base of the Capitol Building steps in Sacramento. The tour covers 832 miles of California terrain (645 for men, 187 for women) and traverses three mountain ranges, including an assault on 8,580-foot Carson Pass. That’s one heck of a lot of time to spend perched on a tiny saddle, legs pumping, burning 6,000-plus calories a day. To get an idea of the popularity of cycling and the prominence of this event, the Amgen Tour of California will be broadcast in over 200 countries and territories. Meet “Fast Freddie” Freddie Rodriguez is a former American Professional Road Cyclist and four-time USA Pro Road National Champion. A native of Colombia and now a Berkeley resident, he launched his career in the U.S. Junior Devel- opment Program and raced his way into the European peloton. His ability as a sprinter led to a second-place fi nish in the Classic Milan-San Remo and a stage win at the Giro d’Italia. Currently in his second year as an offi cial ambassador for the Amgen Tour of California, he visits schools and attends events to talk about cycling and promote healthy living to youth. “This is something I’m passionate about,” Rodriguez said. “Going into schools, talking about