Yolanda Maldonado (second from left) will help kick off the Amgen Tour May 15 in King City. The cycling race also goes through Greenfield.
SOUTH COUNTY — As South County prepares for the arrival of the 2018 Amgen Tour of California next Tuesday, local resident and cancer survivor Yolanda Maldonado has been selected to help kick off day three of the race considered to be America’s premier professional cycling event.
Maldonado will have the honor of firing the start gun for the Stage 3 men’s race start May 15 in King City, a first-time host city for the 13th annual Amgen Tour featuring the world’s best cyclists competing along a seven-stage course that traverses hundreds of miles of the state’s roadways from May 13 to 19.
On that Tuesday, cyclists will travel 122 miles for Stage 3, which begins that morning in downtown King City and heads south to San Lucas, then loops around through Bitterwater before returning to King City on Airport Road and traveling north along Metz Road toward Greenfield, turning west on Elm Avenue and then Arroyo Seco Road, ending in the afternoon at Laguna Seca Raceway in Salinas.
Multiple street closures will take place Tuesday and the day before, May 14, mostly along Broadway Street in King City. In Greenfield, Elm Avenue from Second to 13th streets will be closed for part of the race day as the cyclists work their way toward Arroyo Seco Road.
Local festivities are planned Tuesday beginning at 8:30 a.m. in King City, followed by the race start scheduled for 10:20 a.m. at the intersection of Broadway and Third streets, where Maldonado will fire the start gun to send the professional athletes on their way for the day’s route. Community members are encouraged to participate and cheer on the cyclists as well.
Maldonado, a King City resident, was selected to partake in the official start activities by Amgen on behalf of the company’s Breakaway from Cancer initiative, which aims to increase awareness of the important resources available to people affected by cancer, from prevention through survivorship.
After 16 cycles of chemotherapy, two surgeries and six weeks of radiation, along with the support of her family, Maldonado was able to beat cancer. She credits the love and support of her family for her positive outcome after an October 2014 diagnosis of invasive ductal carcinoma breast cancer.
Maldonado said her sisters were always there, willing to help her in different ways, and her husband stayed by her side as her caregiver. Her children also constantly reminded her that she had so much to live for.
“My family’s love and support are my strength and my motivation,” Maldonado said. “They inspire me to continue moving forward with love and faith.”
According to Maldonado, her entire outlook on life is different now. Even though she appreciated life before, she now sees it as precious and beautiful after battling cancer twice. She said that each day that she gets out of bed and breathes the air, she realizes that life is a “precious gift from our Lord.”
As part of the Amgen Tour of California Breakaway from Cancer activities, cancer survivors will not only participate in race start activities, but also take part in the jersey presentations at the stage finishes and other activities throughout the race.
First held in 2006, the Amgen Tour of California is the only U.S. race on the UCI WorldTour circuit and attracts some of the most renowned cyclists and teams in the world. Presented by AEG Sports, the 2018 edition will mark the third time in race history that the peloton will travel the Golden State from south to north.
This year the men’s race will cover 645 miles of roadways, highways and coastlines during seven stages from Long Beach to Sacramento, May 13-19, while the women’s race will run concurrently May 17-19, covering upward of 187 miles over three stages.
Past race participants have included Olympic medalists, Tour de France contenders and World Champions.
“The 2018 Amgen Tour of California will captivate fans everywhere with all-star pelotons and new routes that showcase the incredible beauty of the Golden State,” said Kristin Klein, president of the Amgen Tour of California and executive vice president of AEG Sports. “With a mix of host cities that highlight the diversity of California — from urban to remote, ocean to desert, forests to mountains — the race continues its tradition as a dynamic and anticipated event on the international calendar.”
For more information about the Amgen Tour, visit the website www.amgentourofcalifornia.com, which includes a page dedicated to King City under the tab “Host Cities.”