The Amgen bike race is often compared to the Tour de France
The Amgen Tour of California rolled through the Bay Area Wednesday with a heat that took riders from Livermore to San Jose.
The leg marks the halfway point and brings riders to the race's first-ever mountaintop finish in the city's eastern foothills. It was also the first day of the race that did not include any weather related delays.
Chris Horner of Bend, Ore., powered to a solo uphill win in Stage 4 and assumed the overall race lead. Horner is with the RadioShack team and finished in 10th place at last years famed Tour de France. He completed the 81.8-mile race in 3:27:15.
Andy Schleck of Luxembourg was 1:15 behind Horner and finished second. Schleck was the 2009 and 2010 Tour de France runner-up.
Horner is just 1:15 over teammate Levi Leipheimer who is the local favorite because he is from Santa Rosa. Leipheimer has won the Tour of California three times before.
The Tour of California is often compared to the famed Tour de France and has a laundry list of the world's best bike racers who spend eight days wheeling their way up, down and across the Golden State.
Wednesday was the only Bay Area leg of the race. It was a short 81 miles but included two grueling climbs. One was on the backside of Mt. Hamilton and the other on Sierra Road. In between was what the race described as a treacherous descent back down Mt. Hamilton. Route map pdf here.
San Jose's Office of Economic Development estimates there were 30,000 people who turned out at one place or another along the route from Livermore to San Jose.
The tour moves to Seaside on Thursday. It's scheduled to end this Sunday in Thousand Oaks.
A bicyclist that wasn't involved in the race suffered major injuries after colliding with a car near the end of the course, according to the California Highway Patrol.
The cyclist was struck in the 4100 block of Sierra Road at about 4:10 p.m., CHP Sgt. John Carman said.
Many of the people who turned out to watch the finish witnessed the crashed.