Where to watch Amgen Tour of California finish in SoCal this weekend

Prepare to say “wow” or “wah” when almost 130 bicyclists heading for the finish line in the 2014 Amgen Tour of California roll through Southern California this weekend.

The wow factor is watching the Tour de France-like racers clip through three final stages that begin in Santa Clarita and Thousand Oaks. And the wah factor? Closure of exit ramps and some roadways that could cause traffic snarls along the way.

At Thursday’s end, Taylor Phinney of BMC Racing Team had won Stage 5 (Pismo Beach to Santa Barbara), and Bradley Wiggins of Team Sky held the overall lead.


The race began May 11 at the state Capitol in Sacramento and ends Sunday in Thousand Oaks, home to sponsor and drug manufacturer Amgen.

Here’s the schedule of the final races and where you can watch firsthand:

Stage 6 begins Friday and covers almost 95 miles and 12,000 feet of elevation as riders go from Bouquet Canyon in Santa Clarita to Mountain High ski resort in the Angeles National Forest. Several exits off the Antelope Valley Freeway (or Highway 14) -- Placerita Canyon Road, Sand Canyon Road and Sierra/Pearblossom Highway -- will be closed on and off from 11 a.m. to about 2:30 p.m.

Stage 7 on Saturday takes riders from Santa Clarita past the Mt. Wilson Observatory for a long steep downhill into La Canada Flintridge. Racers will spin through Old Town Pasadena, past Pasadena City Hall and make a 3-mile circuit along the Rose Parade route.

The northbound Angeles Crest Highway or Highway 2 will be closed in La Canada Flintridge from 12:30 to 3:30 p.m. and the Orange Grove Avenue exit off the eastbound 134 Freeway will be closed from 2:30 to 3:30 p.m.

Stage 8 on Sunday starts and ends in Thousand Oaks with loops through the Santa Monica Mountains and three laps around Westlake Lake, a good place for spectators to watch the action. There will be intermittent closures along Highway 23 during this stage.

Incidentally, anyone who thinks they can do better or just wants to challenge themselves can follow the online maps and go bicycle each stage of the race.