Thousands of spectators welcome Amgen Tour to Santa Barbara

Spectators line up along Cabrillo Boulevard to watch the finish of stage four

POSTED: 10:43 PM PDT May 15, 2013    UPDATED: 10:04 AM PDT May 16, 2013 
Amgen Tour in Santa Barbara
SANTA BARBARA, Calif. -

Santa Barbara is playing host to the country's largest cycling event--The Amgen Tour of California.  The race brings some of the world's best cyclists together.

"Sixty of these riders will go on to ride in the Tour De France this Summer," said race director, Jim Birell.

It's been five years since the tour last stopped  in Santa Barbara.

"Santa Barbara always provides us with that chamber of commerce day," exclaimed Birell.

"Can you imagine a better backdrop? Its amazing," added Kathy Jenega-Dykes, with the Santa Barbara Conference and Visitors Bureau, and Film Commission.

The tour is also great for business.

"It's been an incredible experience for a lot of us, and it translates into a lot of money for the community," said Jenega-Dykes.

Organizers credit Santa Barbara's large cycling community  for bringing the tour back to the area.

"Santa Barbara's probably one of the best places to ride your bike in the world," said Daniel Girard, a spectator and cycling enthusiast.

Competitors will continue the tour up the coast to Avila Beach Thursday. The race ends Sunday in Santa Rosa.