AMGEN Tour Hits the Central Valley

February 18, 2009 12:00:00 AM PST
Stage four of "The largest cycling event in America" begins Wednesday morning at 11 o' clock in front of Merced City Hall and ends in Old Town Clovis.-----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
AMGEN - Tour of California Website
http://www.amgentourofcalifornia.com

Stage 4: Merced to Clovis Stage Information
Stage 4 Map
Click here to find out where you can watch the race (Stage 4 street by street course and time information)

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The cyclists will do two laps around the Civic Center and the historic courthouse before heading north on "M" street and leaving downtown Merced.

The 115 mile stage will take riders into the rugged hills of the Central Sierra, through Mariposa and Oakhurst before ending in Clovis.

Crews in Merced where working late into the night to get ready for Wednesday morning's race. A tent city has been set up across the street from the Merced Civic Center. That's where racers will start Wednesday morning for the 115 mile leg to Clovis.

The tour will ride straight through Oakhurst and businesses there are also getting ready. The local true value hardware store has more than a dozen tents and stacks of chairs ready to go. They'll be set up throughout town and hundreds are expected to line the streets to watch the cyclists zip by. At Oakhurst physical therapy, cycling videos were playing all day Tuesday.

"I think this is a great showcase for eastern Madera County. Hopefully different countries will see this and say I want to go to this area," said Tony McLean with Oakhurst Physical Therapy.

It will be a tough ride through Oakhurst. Cyclists will speed through a stretch of Highway 49 before crossing a bridge and facing some tricky turns.

Wednesday stage four of the race will start in Merced, through Mariposa and Oakhurst and then into Clovis.

There were no major changes in the overall standings after yesterday's third stage from San Jose to Modesto. But the man at the top of that list had to go through a lot to stay there.

Levi Leipheimer bounced back from a crash to stay 24 seconds ahead of the rest of the field. He got a few scrapes and bruises in the crash, but was quickly back on his bike. He rejoined his teammates at the front about 30 minutes later.

A four-man breakaway rode ahead of the pack with about a mile left in the race. And it's Norway's Thor Hushovd outlasting a pack of about 30 riders and winning stage three by a bike length.

There was no change at the top of the overall standings, so the American Leipheimer held on to the Yellow Jersey.



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