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

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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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Filed by Carly Schwartz