What to expect race day

Unless you’ve been hiding out in a cave for the last several months (which might actually be possible here in Gold Country), you already know that the Amgen Tour of California – Stage 4 starts in Sonora this Wednesday, May 16 at 10:35 a.m.  And we know you’ve got a ton of questions about the big event, so we’ve put together all the must-know info you’re probably going to need.  From how to get around, and where to watch, to everything else in between.

Read on so you have a great experience on Wednesday, and don’t forget to pick up the special section in Monday’s Union Democrat that’s dedicated to the race.  You’ll also be able to find it at the following locations: The Union Democrat offices, several downtown businesses, as well as anywhere you might usually find the Weekender.

On to the questions you may have been wondering about…

What’s the schedule for race day?

9:00 a.m.      Start hospitality opens and teams arrive

9:35 a.m.      Rider sign-in begins (autograph opportunities)

9:55 a.m.      Sonora dignitary interviews on main stage

10:25 a.m.    Rider call-up (top riders to the start line)

10:30 a.m.    National Anthem – Jazz @ 8; Summerville High

10:35 a.m.    Start of Stage 4

*The Sonora High School Golden Regiment Band will be playing pre-race ceremony from the court house lawn and steps west of the park.

Where should we park?

Thousands of spectators are expected in Sonora for the start of Stage 4 and many roads will be closed to traffic surrounding downtown.  It is strongly suggested that you use Tuolumne County Transit to get into downtown. They have put together special parking areas scattered throughout the area and will be shuttling people in and out of downtown.  Find the lot that is most convenient for you, as well as shuttle times with this great interactive map.

Where is the start line?

The start line will be located in front of Courthouse Square on Washington Street, and will look a lot like the picture above.  Racers will line up back toward the iconic red church.

Plan on being near the start?  Then plan on being part of “the sea of red” that will show Amgen Tour of California cyclists just how much Sonora loves them.  Paddles sporting our iconic red gear heart will be handed out near the start until supplies are gone.  Donations accepted.

Can we meet the racers/get autographs?

The public will have access to cycling teams before the race start.  Their team buses will be parked along the north side of Washington Street starting near the Red Church and will snake south through downtown to around the Stockton Street light..  There will be autograph opportunities here as well as at rider sign-in and/or as cyclists are introduced at the announcer stage which will be located in front of the Veteran’s Memorial Hall.

Where can we watch the start of the race?

There will be many exciting spots to watch the race action along Washington Street where racers will start from.  Or you could catch a spot further into the race route along Jacksonville Road.  And for perhaps the best seat in the house, there are still tickets available for the VIP Train where you can watch the race go by from the comfort of a private rail coach, while enjoying brunch from Seven Sisters.

Will businesses on Washington Street be open?

Yes, many businesses located along Washington Street will be open, including many restaurants and food providers.  Here’s a full list of the restaurants that will be serving breakfast and lunch on race day.

Where can I buy Amgen Tour of California – Sonora logo items?

Souvenir items including the ATOC Sonora logo will be available at the Local Organizing Committee tent on race day and the following retail locations: Candy Vault, Tuolumne County Visitors Bureau, Sonora Cyclery, Sharon Malones, Addictions and Back Space.

What happens after the racers leave town?

The fun doesn’t stop once the racers leave town.  The day will be young and you will have plenty of time to stroll the historic streets of Sonora, visit Railtown 1897 State Historic Park, or Columbia State Historic Park.  Then, find your way to a local establishment to watch the televised race on NBC Sports, which airs at 2 p.m. Here’s a list of the best places to catch the whole race and some of the great specials they’re offering that day:

  • Standard Pour:  Cruise out to the Pour on your bicycle and receive a FREE New Belgium beer or t-shirt and watch the AMGEN Tour of California race on 7 big screen TVs.  19040 Standard Road, Sonora.
  • Applebee’s: 4 large screen TVs & 4 med. screen TVs.  Drink special every day in May and ½ price appetizers 3-6pm.   851 Sanguinetti Rd, Sonora, CA.
  • Artisan Pizza:  1 large screen TV & discount specials for Amgen TOC. 83 S. Washington, Sonora.
  • Black Oak Casino: Mill Sports Bar – Daily specials & ATOC specials.  19400 Tuolumne Road North, Tuolumne City.
  • Gus’s Steakhouse: Big Screen TV. Open 2pm-10pm. Early bird specials & 1 free beverage.  1183 Mono Way, Sonora.
  • Willow Steakhouse and Seafood Grill & Saloon:  Free appetizer with purchase of two regular menu items (excluding petite dinners).  Free beverage with lunch. 18275 Main St., Jamestown.

Got more questions?  Follow all the last-minute info and news at our ATOC Sonora Facebook page, or feel free to post us a question there.

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