Professional road cycling teams from the U.S., the Netherlands, France, Austria, Belgium, Canada, Luxembourg and Colombia, competing in the 8th annual Amgen Tour of California, pass through Mountain Center and Garner Valley on Monday, May 13, in the second stage of the eight-day event. The Amgen event is the biggest stage race in the United States.
Forest Service Public Information Officer John Miller stated motorists could expect Highway 74 to experience a “rolling closure” lasting two hours with eastbound traffic opening sooner than westbound. During the two-hour period (the location shifts eastward as the race does), both directions of Highway 74 are closed.
The 124-mile second stage of this 800-mile road and highway course begins in Murrieta at 10:20 a.m. and ends at the desert entrance to the Palm Springs Aerial Tramway around 4 p.m. The first climb, from Hemet to Mountain Center, is 10.7 miles of an average grade of 4.6 percent and an elevation gain of 2,587 feet. The final climb of the day is a grueling 3.6-mile trek from the desert floor to the tramway parking lot, with an average gradient of over 9 percent.
The race is being filmed and broadcast in partnership with the same company that owns and films the Tour de France. Race coverage, all stages, is on the NBC Sports Network. Check website for broadcast schedules at www.amgentourofcalifornia.com.