By Carlos Correa

STOCKTON (CBS13) — The City of Stockton is preparing for one of the largest cycling events in the world, and so are many local business owners.

The Amgen Tour of California attracts thousands of people. This will be the first time in 11 years the race will be going through the city.

It’s one of the largest cycling events in the world and on Thursday thousands of cyclists will be racing through Stockton.  Owners at El Grullense, a Mexican restaurant along the race’s route is already preparing extra food for the big event.

“Tacos, tortas, burritos, quesadillas, there is a little bit of everything,” said Jennifer Padilla who works at the restaurant.

Crews have been working long hours to set things up for the 2018 Amgen Tour of California. The race features seven stages running from southern California up to Sacramento.

The City of Stockton will be the starting point of stage five.

“For any city in California to be able to host the Amgen Tour of California is pretty special and we are super excited,” said Wes Rhea, CEO, Visit Stockton.

A big welcome is planned outside the Stockton arena.  Festivities are set to begin at 9 a.m. Thursday with a Lifestyle Festival.  Many business owners are excited about the race. It’s a chance to show off their companies.

“Visibility is extremely important, that’s probably 80 percent of the business, it’s about being visible, being out there, having the trucks out there, being seeing in uniform, it plays a big role,” said Brandon Bearce, Big Blue Junk Removal.

The cyclists will begin at the Stockton Arena, traveling east on Fremont Street to El Dorado Street, then going north to Harding Way and riding out of city limits. Police plan to have extra patrols out for the event.

“There will be quite a few streets that will be closed, there will be traffic personnel with the Stockton Police Department along the route to make sure everybody is enjoying the race, but also obeying the laws,” said Joe Silva, Stockton Police Department.

Stockton police officers are encouraging people who want to come and watch the race to arrive early.  The festival downtown starts at 9 a.m.  The race begins around 11:20 a.m.

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