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Davis, California

Thursday, December 2, 2021

Breakaway from Cancer bike ride seizes Russell

Off-campus students leaving their homes next Sunday may run into the fundraising Breakaway from Cancer bike ride that will begin on a temporarily closed-off Russell Boulevard at 7:30 a.m. April 25.

Organized by the Amgen-founded Breakaway from Cancer initiative, the ride aims to raise awareness about the resources available to those afflicted with cancer. The Breakaway ride consists of the Stage-2 route of the Amgen Tour of California, a 114-mile cycling trek that begins on Davis’ Russell Boulevard and concludes in Santa Rosa. Anyone who pays the entry fee can participate.

“[It’s] an opportunity for amateurs to ride the route the professionals will ride in the Amgen Tour of California and to raise funds for our Breakaway from Cancer initiative,” said Kristin Davis, Amgen spokesperson.

The ride caters to all skill levels as seen in the three different course lengths: the whole 114-miles, 50 miles or 22 miles. Though it is not an actual race, there will be timed segments, such as uphill climbs on which competitive riders can display their mettle. Event organizers capped the maximum number of participants at 3,500 bikers.

Undeclared first-year Mikaela DeRousseau, a member of the UC Davis triathlon team, supports the concept behind the Breakaway Ride.

“I think it’s cool that normal people who aren’t necessarily competitive can try a part of the larger course,” she said.

May 17’s Amgen Tour of California, the largest biking competition in the United States, is broken up into eight stages that span a total of 800 miles across California.

“It’s like the Tour de France,” said Amgen Tour vice president of communications Michael Ross, of the nature of the race. “We have 16 teams and all the teams [must be] invited. They’re the world’s best professional teams.”

Professional cyclist George Hincapie will partake in the April 25 race and make a series of introductory remarks at the ride’s outset. According to a press release, Hincapie joined Breakaway from Cancer when the Amgen founded the component in 2005 because of the role cancer has played in the lives of his family members.

Breakaway from Cancer plans to raise funds primarily through voluntary donations. An undisclosed portion of the entry fees for the race, however, will go toward the initiative’s nonprofit partners like the Prevent Cancer Foundation and the Cancer Support Community.

When the race concludes in Santa Rosa, riders and others will have the opportunity to attend a fair where the cancer-related nonprofits set up booths to distribute information pertinent to both cancer patients and those simply interested in learning more about the disease.

Amgen Inc, the biotechnology company behind the event, has had a history of research and development with regard to cancer.

“We discover, develop and deliver products for people battling serious illnesses, and one of those is cancer,” Davis said.

The Breakaway Ride, Davis said, does not exist to promote Amgen’s products. The event focuses on helping the affiliated nonprofits raise funds rather than advertising the drugs Amgen has developed to combat cancer.

YARA ELMJOUIE can be reached at city@theaggie.org.

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