MORRO BAY — Delay and confusion became the trademark of the Wednesday, May 15, leg of Amgen’s Tour of California as weather set racers back by nearly 40 minutes, along with two crashes and a controversial judging decision.
By several accounts published after the fact, riders and team directors weren’t happy with the UCI race jury’s decision to neutralize the final 3.4 kilometers of racing and award the lead to Tejay van Garderen. Fabio Jakobsen was listed stage winner.
The technical decision hinged on the interpretation of organization rules to allow for make up times after a crash, but it meant that much of the course laid out inside the City of Morro Bay did not count for several riders.
The peloton had trouble coming off Highway 1 at the South Bay Boulevard off-ramp, before turning onto State Park Road for the last 5 kilometers of the race as well, with one rider shooting off the pack onto the adjoining onramp.
Local volunteers, some of whom returned for the event after a hiatus between Amgen visits to Morro Bay, enjoyed being part of the process regardless of the outcome, as well as the attention coverage brought to the Central Coast tourism industry.
New this year, the event skipped Morro Rock, instead of closing off access to much of the City’s civic buildings, including the Post Office, for most of the day, to the annoyance of locals who hadn’t gotten the memo.