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Tour Of California: Cyclists Take Stunning Ride Across The State (PHOTOS, VIDEO)

By Posted: Updated: 05/15/2012 8:52 pm

Tour Of California

The seventh annual Tour of California began snaking its way through the state on Sunday, and similar to years past, footage from the elite event has been absolutely magnificent.

The eight-stage bicycle tour, which brings together some of the most famous cyclists in the world, kicked off in Santa Rosa and made its way through San Francisco on Monday. It culminates in Los Angeles on Sunday and will make a number of stops along the way, including in Bakersfield, Big Bear Lake, and Mt. Baldy.

(SCROLL DOWN FOR PHOTOS AND VIDEO)

Here in San Francisco, spectators crowded along the Great Highway to catch a glimpse of the action. According to the Ocean Beach Bulletin, the athletes sped by in a matter of minutes.

As of Tuesday, Slovak cycling champion Peter Sagan has been dominating the race, with three consecutive stage wins. The San Jose Mercury News reported that the machine on two wheels claims it would take almost nothing to stop him. "I don't know, maybe a natural disaster," he said.

Tour organizers describe the race as America's most famous, and hope to someday join the ranks of the world's most prestigious bicycling events. AEG president Tim Leiweke, who helps present the festivities, called the tour "an international showcase for the state of California and a world-class event."

"It will one day rival the Tour de France," he added.

Catch all the action here, and in the mean time, take a look at video footage of the Ocean Beach leg as well as images from the first three stages below:

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  • Tour of California - Stage 3

    LIVERMORE, CA - MAY 15: The peloton begins the climb of Patterson Pass during stage three of the Amgen Tour of California from San Jose to Livermore on May 15, 2012 in Livermore, California. (Photo by Doug Pensinger/Getty Images)

  • Tour of California - Stage 3

    LIVERMORE, CA - MAY 15: Timothy Duggan of the USA riding for Liquigas-Cannondale leads the peloton on the climb of Patterson Pass during stage three of the Amgen Tour of California from San Jose to Livermore on May 15, 2012 in Livermore, California. (Photo by Doug Pensinger/Getty Images)

  • Tour of California - Stage 3

    WALNUT CREEK, CA - MAY 15: The peloton climbs Mount Diablo during stage three of the Amgen Tour of California from San Jose to Livermore on May 15, 2012 in Walnut Creek, California. (Photo by Ezra Shaw/Getty Images)

  • Tour of California - Stage 3

    WALNUT CREEK, CA - MAY 15: Team Liquigas-Cannondale leads the peloton up Mount Diablo during stage three of the Amgen Tour of California from San Jose to Livermore on May 15, 2012 in Walnut Creek, California. (Photo by Ezra Shaw/Getty Images)

  • Tour of California - Stage 3

    LIVERMORE, CA - MAY 15: Peter Sagan of Slovokia riding for Liquigas-Cannondale beats Heinrich Haussler (R) of Australia riding for Garmin-Barracuda across the line to win stage three of the Amgen Tour of California from San Jose to Livermore on May 15, 2012 in Livermore, California. (Photo by Ezra Shaw/Getty Images)

  • Tour of California - Stage 3

    WALNUT CREEK, CA - MAY 15: The peloton climbs Mount Diablo during stage three of the Amgen Tour of California from San Jose to Livermore on May 15, 2012 in Walnut Creek, California. (Photo by Ezra Shaw/Getty Images)

  • Tour of California - Stage 3

    SAN JOSE, CA - MAY 15: The peloton rides together at the beginning of stage three of the Amgen Tour of California from San Jose to Livermore on May 15, 2012 in San Jose, California. (Photo by Ezra Shaw/Getty Images)

  • Tour of California - Stage 2

    SANTA CRUZ, CA - MAY 14: (L-R) Timothy Duggan riding for Liquigas-Cannondale, Edward King riding for Liquigas-Cannondale, Kristjan Koren of Slovokia riding for Liquigas-Cannondale, Jeffry Louder riding for Unitedhealthcare p/b Maxxis, Jonathan Clarke of Australia riding for Unitedhealthcare p/b Maxxis, and Rory Sutherland of Australia riding for Unitedhealthcare p/b Maxxis ride past a field of flowers during stage two of the Amgen Tour of California from San Francisco to Santa Cruz on May 14, 2012 in Santa Cruz, California. (Photo by Ezra Shaw/Getty Images)

  • Tour of California - Stage 3

    SAN JOSE, CA - MAY 15: The peloton prepares for the start of stage three of the Amgen Tour of California from San Jose to Livermore on May 15, 2012 in San Jose, California. (Photo by Doug Pensinger/Getty Images)

  • Tour of California - Stage 2

    SANTA CRUZ, CA - MAY 14: The peloton climbs up Bear Creek Road during stage two of the Amgen Tour of California from San Francisco to Santa Cruz on May 14, 2012 in Santa Cruz, California. (Photo by Ezra Shaw/Getty Images)

  • Tour of California - Stage 2

    SANTA CRUZ, CA - MAY 14: The peloton rides along the coastal highway on California Route 1 during stage two of the Amgen Tour of California from San Francisco to Santa Cruz on May 14, 2012 in Santa Cruz, California. (Photo by Ezra Shaw/Getty Images)

  • Tour of California - Stage 2

    SANTA CRUZ, CA - MAY 14: Alexandre Geniez of France riding for Argos-Shimano rides with a break away group during stage two of the Amgen Tour of California from San Francisco to Santa Cruz on May 14, 2012 in Santa Cruz, California. (Photo by Ezra Shaw/Getty Images)

  • Tour of California - Stage 2

    SANTA CRUZ, CA - MAY 14: Alexandre Geniez of France riding for Argos-Shimano broke away from the peloton during stage two of the Amgen Tour of California from San Francisco to Santa Cruz on May 14, 2012 in Santa Cruz, California. (Photo by Ezra Shaw/Getty Images)

  • Tour of California - Stage 2

    SAN FRANCISCO, CA - MAY 14: The peloton rolls past Crissy Field with the Golden Gate Bridge in the background as they commence stage two of the Amgen Tour of California from San Francisco to Santa Cruz on May 14, 2012 in San Francisco, California. (Photo by Doug Pensinger/Getty Images)

  • Tour of California - Stage 2

    SAN FRANCISCO, CA - MAY 14: The peloton rides past the Golden Gate Bridge during stage two of the Amgen Tour of California from San Francisco to Santa Cruz on May 14, 2012 in San Francisco, California. (Photo by Ezra Shaw/Getty Images)

  • Tour of California - Stage 2

    SANTA CRUZ, CA - MAY 14: The peloton passes by Pigeon Point Lighthouse on the coastal highway California Route 1 during stage two of the Amgen Tour of California from San Francisco to Santa Cruz on May 14, 2012 in San Mateo County, California. (Photo by Doug Pensinger/Getty Images)


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Filed by Carly Schwartz  |