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Amgen event a trouble-free celebration for Santa Rosa

  • Peter Sagan of Liquigas-Cannondale is triumphant as he crosses the finish line first, Sunday May 13, 2012, during the first stage of the Amgen Tour of California in Santa Rosa. (Kent Porter / Press Democrat) 2012

Faint chalk messages on Third Street cheered on two United Healthcare riders, a few barricades and road closure signs leaned against a curb and some trash still littered sidewalks Monday morning in downtown Santa Rosa.

Those were the only signs that a day earlier downtown was the epicenter for the beginning of the seventh annual Amgen Tour of California and a festival for a crowd estimated at 40,000 — all, officials said, going off without a hitch.

The tents, food vendors, providers of sample smoothies and nutrition bars and sellers of bicycles and bike parts disappeared Sunday evening as quickly as they set up early Sunday.

Tour Of California Stage 1

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"We had cleanup crews come through, the tents were broken down around 10 p.m., we had street sweepers come through and Public Works will be picking up the barricade signs," said David Guhin, Santa Rosa's director of engineering services. "It should return to normal very soon."

"It was so smooth and so beautiful, like it was crazy," said Raissa de la Rosa, Santa Rosa's economic development specialist who spearheaded the local organizing committee. "The weather was perfect for the cyclists and when the skies cleared, it was gorgeous, it was fun. The crowds came early and stayed, and behind the scenes there was no issue."

Santa Rosa Police Sgt. Lisa Banayat and CHP Officer Jonathan Sloat said there were no reports of problems during or after the event.

Santa Rosa Mayor Ernesto Olivares said there hadn't been any complaints made to his office or the city manager's.

"Clearly you expect a little hiccup. Maybe there was, maybe someone was delayed going from Point A to Point B, but overall we get a lot of the feedback through Facebook, there were a lot of positive comments. No one has posted anything negative," Olivares said.

AEG Sports of Los Angeles, owner of the Tour of California, also praised Santa Rosa's staging of the event.

"It was a fantastic, fantastic day for the kickoff," said Kristin Bachochin, AEG director of marketing. "The City of Santa Rosa and Sonoma County continue to step it up every year we go there. The overall support is phenomenal."


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