U.S. racer finishes third in San Diego leg of 2016 Amgen Tour

SAN DIEGO (KUSI) — Peter Sagen of Slovakia beat out 140 racers Sunday in the first leg of the 2016 Amgen Tour of California bicycle race.

The Amgen Tour debuted in San Diego Sunday with a challenging 106-mile race that began and ended in Mission Bay. The first leg took about 4 hours and 30 minutes to finish. Sagen, the world’s number one ranked rider, was followed by Wouter WIppert of the Netherlands. Michael Sheehan of the U.S. finished in third. They followed the winner by less than a bike length.

said Many racers are hoping to use this race to qualify for the 2016 Olympics in Rio De Janiero, Kristin Klein, the tour’s president said.

“Especially exciting this year is the road to the Olympics—and Rio gold—is actually happening right here in the Golden State,” Klein said.

Others are using the race to size up the competition for the summer games or to prepare for the Tour de France in less than two months, Klein said.

This is the first time the race has been held in San Diego. Previous races have been held in Escondido and Rancho Bernardo. The second stage of this year’s Amgen will begin in South Pasadena and end in Santa Clarita Monday.

San Diegans showed their support along the race path. San Diego organizers have “done an incredible job of getting their hometown behind the race,” Klein said.

Sunday’s first leg ran through Balboa Park to Imperial Beach, then east through Chula Vista to hilly and windy Jamul. It then returned through El Cajon, San Carlos, Allied Gardens and Mission Gorge Road into Mission Valley via Friars Road. Racers sprinted towards the finish line at Mission Bay via Ingraham Street.

Over the next week, eight stages of the Amgen race will take riders from South Pasadena to the Angeles National Forest, along the coast in Ventura and Santa Barbara counties, Morro Bay and Big Sur. Bikers will climb 130-miles to South Lake Tahoe, head to Folsom, the Sonoma County wine country and the finish next Sunday in Sacramento.

The course totals 782 miles, race organizers said. 

Categories: Local San Diego News