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Our View: Amgen: Let’s make Auburn’s 15 minutes last for many years

Our View
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Auburn, get ready for your close-up, your 15 minutes of fame, your time in the cycling spotlight. Several months of community preparation, planning and execution will zoom by the Dr. Fox statues on Sunday, past the historic Auburn Courthouse, curl around the clocktower and fly across the Foresthill Bridge before crossing the river on its way to Sacramento. The Amgen Tour of California will be here in 48 hours. Most experts think the leaders and main peloton — the mass of cyclists that move as one — will spend no more than 15 minutes within the Auburn city limits, and probably less than 45 minutes in the region. So what’s the big deal? Why get so excited about more than 125 spandex-clad cyclists on two wheels? The Tour of California has quickly become one of the top stage races in the world. If the Tour de France is the Super Bowl of cycling, the Golden State tour is making a bid for the conference championship. This is competitive cycling on the global stage. There’s the pageantry. With thousands of people expected to line local streets and highways, waving American flags and handmade signs, the sights will be off the charts. The roar of the crowd, blowing airhorns and clanging cowbells, will be deafening. More than that, images of the Gold Country, Old Town and Downtown Auburn, American River Canyon, Cool and the oak-studded foothills will be beamed around the world live and on tape. Local and national TV networks, including ESPN, will highlight the race’s first stage, which starts in Nevada City. Closer to the action, thousands of still, digital video and mobile phone cameras will catch the action and share images that will be up on YouTube, Flickr, Facebook, Twitter and other social network sharing sites. While Sacramento will experience the mad dash to the finish line, Auburn’s moment in the sun will be brief — but the impact will be lasting. As more than one city leader has said, when the returns of Sunday’s cycling action are in, we might look back on the Amgen visit as one of the pivotal moments in Auburn’s history. So come out and support some of the world’s greatest athletes, but also to see Auburn put on its Sunday best for the world. Old Town and Downtown Auburn will be cranking up the fun by 10 a.m., and big screens will continue to show the race well after the cyclists have left town. Cool is planning a party of its own, and thousands there will enjoy a day of music and food before and after riders climb the canyon wall and spin south toward Salmon Falls Road. Today’s Auburn Journal’s sports section includes a four-page pullout section that you’ll want to take with you, complete with the cyclists to spot, places to watch, a route map and the language of Lance. Most of all, pack your patience. Visitors likely will park where they shouldn’t. Crowds are likely to block some streets where barricades aren’t. Traffic delays will start Sunday morning, and 45-minute road closures will be common around noon. Auburn, it’s time to enjoy the ride. ---------------------------- Free Friday at show Spinning wheels will take over Auburn for a portion of Sunday, but one of Auburn’s other annual premiere events opens its three-day run today at the Gold Country Fairgrounds. And today, you can visit the show for free, courtesy of the Auburn Journal and Gold Country Media. The Auburn Spring Home Show features hundreds of vendors showcasing their products and services, many with special show deals and discounts. A boulder-laden walk-in wine cave, with sandy beach and waterfall, is a featured exhibit. The show continues Saturday and Sunday.