Sports

Tour of California: General information

Racing will begin at the corner of N and 18th Streets, right outside the Merced Civic Center. Racers will be announced and signed in nearby. At 11 a.m. the race begins with two laps through the Downtown area (see map on left page), before going down M Street and heading for the hills.

Where to watch

N AND 18TH STREETS: The starting point of Stage 4 will be filled with frenzied fans watching the start of this epic race. Set in front of the Merced Civic Center with its stately palms, the street will be decked out with banners, arches and signs. In the background, a giant screen will show the televised start, up close and personal.

M STREET, BETWEEN 18TH AND BEAR CREEK: After making the loops through the downtown (Main and 18th Streets, between K and M Streets, which offer terrific close-up views of the racers), the cyclists hit the first straightaway of the race -- there-quarters of a mile down M Street. Due to narrow shoulders, the best place to watch the North Bear Creek Drive leg of the race is from across the creek on W. 28th Street.

SOUTH BEAR CREEK DRIVE: Running parallel to the road is one of the City's many bike paths, providing plenty of viewing opportunities for the public, especially those who arrive on two wheels.

BEAR CREEK AND MCKEE ROAD: Here is where the riders start burning rubber, as the timed portion of the race officially begins. Watch as the cyclists continue along South Bear Creek Drive, jockeying for position.

OTHER VIEWS: Stage 4, the so-called

"Alpine Stage" of the Tour of California, offers plenty of other spectating opportunities. Any spot along Highway 140 offers great views of the racers as they begin their climb to the Sierra. The loop through historic Mariposa gives fans another chance to see their favorites up close. And any turnout along Highway 49 between Mariposa and Oakhurst will offer fantastic racing, breathtaking scenery and plenty of crisp mountain air.

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