ESCONDIDO - Lieuwe Westra of the Netherlands won the opening stage of the Tour of California, the nation's largest cycling event.
Westra completed the 102.6-mile stage that began and ended in Escondido in four hours, 31 minutes, 23 seconds, four seconds ahead of Francisco Mancebo Perez of Spain. Peter Sagan of Slovkia was third in 4:31:35.
The stage began at Broadway and Grand Avenue, headed on winding state Route 78 to Ramona and Santa Ysabel before a climb up Palomar Mountain and a return to Escondido.
The stage included more than 11,000 feet of climbing.
This was the first time since 2009 the race included San Diego County. This was the first time in its eight-year history the race is being run from south to north.
The field includes 2010 Tour de France champion Andy Schleck, 10 other riders who have won stages in the Tour de France, seven world champions and 11 current national champions.
The eight-day, almost 750-mile race officially known as the Amgen Tour of California continues today with a 124.3-mile stage beginning in Murrieta, heading to Hemet, down the curvy and spectacular Highway 74 into Palm Desert before finishing at the base station of the Palm Springs Aerial Tramway.
The race is set to conclude May 19 in Santa Rosa.