H-SPORTS

Dec 11, 2012 12:53 AM by Andrew Masuda

Planning underway for Tour of CA's arrival to Avila Beach

Avila Beach residents and business owners started to discuss the arrival of the Amgen Tour of California race to their community on Monday night.

Stage five of the 2013 Amgen Tour of California, the largest professional cycling race in the nation, is set to start in Santa Barbara and arrive in Avila Beach on May 16.

San Luis Obispo County District 3 Supervisor Adam Hill and members of the California Highway Patrol, Cal Fire and SLO County Sheriff's Office fielded questions from residents and council members at the Avila Valley Advisory Council's meeting Monday night.

Some residents and business owners said they were thrilled for the race to showcase their community. Many watched cyclists arrive into other parts of the Central Coast in years past and could not wait for them to pedal into Avila Beach.

Other residents voiced concerns about the race and the thousands of spectators it attracts creating traffic, safety and access problems to the coastal community. They said there is only one road in and out of Avila Beach (Avila Beach Drive), so a lengthy road closure could be a major challenge to overcome. Council Chairwoman Anne Brown said the way the race was thrust upon Avila Beach was "a travesty." Many residents said they had no idea the race was going to stop in Avila Beach until after tour organizers announced the route last month.

Supervisor Hill said the meeting was just the start of the county's planning process. "I'm very confident our public safety leaders know how to pull these kinds of events off and take care of every issue you can think of. If there's anything they think isn't being addressed, the event won't happen. So that's why these people are here," said Hill.

Amgen organizers have not finalized the route cyclists will take from Santa Barbara to Avila Beach.

Hill plans to revisit the advisory council early next year.

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