The Stockton Arena was abuzz with activity on May 17, as cycling enthusiasts and local businesses alike gathered to attend the start of stage 5 of the 2018 Amgen Tour of California, a 109.7-mile journey from Stockton to Elk Grove.
The course is relatively flat with only one major change of elevation, allowing the sprinters among the contestants to shine. “This is a tailor-made sprint stage for the sprinters, and they have been raring to go,” noted announcer Brian Stover.
The Amgen Tour of California is an annual business boon to host cities throughout the Central Valley. Tourism revenue is bolstered by cycling fans following the tour throughout the state. In addition, each stop along the way is an opportunity for local businesses to have booths at the event. This is the second time Stockton has hosted the start of the event, the last time being in 2007. Modesto and Lodi have also been frequented by the Amgen Tour of California in recent years.
Nonprofit booths made a strong showing at this year’s Stockton start to stage 5.
“One of the things I’ve encouraged the staff to do is to be involved in events like this, bring out some of the food we have … so they can see we’re actually providing healthy, nutritious, good food to those who really need it,” said Rick Brewer, CEO of the Emergency Food Bank. “Sometimes people will come by and throw a dollar in our [donation] box too, so we’ll get a couple donations.”