The start of Stage 7 of the 2017 Amgen Tour of California in Wrightwood seemed to be very poorly attended.
The starting time of this stage (which this year ran from Wrightwood to Pasadena) was 10:50 a.m. Thinking the event would be swamped, and wanting to beat the traffic up the still-under-construction Highway 138 between I-15 and Highway 2, I arrived at around 8:30. As it turned out, I was way early.
Not only were none of the teams there yet, but I was the first spectator as far as I could tell. The two guys manning the driveway entrance to the event seemed uncaring about where I parked, and just waved me through.
Once there, I found that there were only four tents set up — one for Amgen merchandise and one as an informal media gathering point, leaving the other two empty. No one else was selling anything, including food or beverages.
The teams didn’t start filtering in until after nine-ish. Only BMC, Cannondale, and UHC had the full team bus. The others had small Class C recreational vehicles that each seemed to have been rented from El Monte RV.
There were at least two dozen CHP vehicles, and about that many Amgen support motorcycles (mostly BMWs). If I had to guess, I would say that the participants outnumbered the spectators by ten to one.
On a personal note, it was weird not having the traditional Michelob Ultra Podium Ambassadors Allison Steinkamp and Joanna Zanella. Maybe that’s why nobody showed up.
Here’s what the start looked like. Note how thin the crowd is.
I had a feeling that attendance might be down after watching the previous-days’ Big Bear Lake individual time trial (Stage 6) on TV, but it was still shocking to see how few turned out for this event.
At least I got a souvenir cowbell from the Lexus Swag Wagon folks.