Rock Your Blue and Gold for AMGEN

Rancho Cordova, CA  |  By Trina L. Drotar
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Ashley Downton, Marc Sapoznik, Mayor McGarvey rocking the blue and gold. Photos by Rick Maness

RANCHO CORDOVA, CA (MPG) - If you haven’t heard, AMGEN is coming to Rancho Cordova! For the full house of chamber members, guests, ambassadors, volunteers, and the many who help keep this city fun and family-friendly and who always look forward, there were a couple of folks who had never heard of the AMGEN Tour of California.

Sitting around tables decorated in the tour’s theme colors of blue and gold and sporting bike helmets, race information, and lip balm and pocket-sized shoe shine kits, courtesy of the luncheon’s host, SMUD, attendees listened to a presentation on sustainability by SMUD before hearing from Marc Sapoznik, Executive Director of Rancho Cordova Travel and Tourism.

“No other sporting event in California is this large in number of attendees at the actual event. It’s over a million people who watch this in person,” said Sapoznik.

AMGEN, he added, is a precursor to the Tour de France. This year, Rancho Cordova was selected as the host city for the start of the Stage Two Men’s race, which will leave from in front of City Hall on May 13. Riders will travel east on White Rock Road, cruise through the city, and travel a total of 121 miles to reach Lake Tahoe. Riders will travel through Placerville, follow the Mormon Emigrant Trail, climbing in elevation along Highway 88 where they will cross Carson Pass at nearly 8,600 feet and are expected to reach South Lake Tahoe in approximately 4.5 hours.

The race draws the best riders globally and is viewed worldwide. Riders and attendees may travel from Bahrain, Mexico, Africa, and from all sections of the United States. Peter Sagan, Mark Cavendish, and Marcel Kittel are among the big names who will tour California.
“Our own US cycling team which is not usually a part of the AMGEN is going to be riding in the race this year,” he said, referring to the team that will compete in the 2020 Tokyo Olympics.
“This is an international event.” Nineteen teams representing 30 countries will participate, making Rancho Cordova a perfect fit for this race, he said. “We’re the 28th most diverse community in the nation" Sapoznik said.

The race is expected to draw attendees from around the region and generate an estimated $600,000 to $1 million dollars. While it is not the largest event in terms of revenue, it will be the largest in terms of exposure to what Rancho Cordova has to offer. A series of commercials highlighting the sights, sounds, people, and tastes of the city are scheduled to air throughout the race.
The city has been on the periphery for some time, always the bridesmaid and never the bride, but many of the riders have lodged in the city while on the race.

“It’s our time!” Sapoznik said, as he turned the microphone over to Ashley Downton, City of Rancho Cordova Communications Officer. “Rancho Cordova will be everywhere!”

A meet and greet event will take place on May 13 at 8 a.m. giving spectators and cycling enthusiasts the opportunity to meet riders from the various teams. At 9:05 a.m., the festivities heat up with the singing of the national anthem by local Cordova High School student, Agnes Budge. The Cordova High School Air Force Junior ROTC will present the color guard.

“At 10:05 a.m., the race is going to begin, and you’ll be able to cheer on the riders.”
Fifteen minute rolling road closures may impact traffic from Prospect Park Drive heading east to the eastern city limit, along White Rock Road and will affect all intersections including Sunrise Blvd. Downton suggests planning time accordingly or taking an alternate route. The website provides alternate routes and parking options.

“One of the ways we’re hoping that you’ll participate is by joining us in showing us your blue and gold!” said Downton. “And we’re really hoping to paint the town in them.”
In order to give the men’s team a proper Rancho Cordova welcome, businesses and residents can choose from four different ways to participate. Blue and gold welcome signs can be downloaded from the city’s website and hung in businesses or homes as can pinwheel templates which can be made and showcased.

Blue and gold cheering items will be available on the day of the race to cheer the riders on, and Downton also suggested spectators wear blue and gold clothes as they line the streets on race day.
By rocking your blue and gold colors in advance of the race, photographing your efforts, and posting them to social media or emailing between April 22 and May 3, you might win two VIP tickets to the Stage 2 Men’s event, said Downton.

Sapoznik invited people to come out and have a good time.
“This is a city that knows how to have a good time.”
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