Stage Five of the Amgen Tour of California bike race kicked off in downtown Visalia. Officials counted more than 12,000 people were out cheering on the cyclists. Thousands of people couldn't stop cheering and waving signs as the professional cyclists rolled in this morning. Many said it was a once-in-a-lifetime chance to see Lance Armstrong and the other competitors up close.

With a quick countdown they were off. After making several laps through downtown Visalia the cyclists were on their way to finish the longest leg of the race134 miles from Visalia to Paso Robles. Holding signs that read "LIVESTRONG," fans of Lance Armstrong didn't have to wait long before catching a glimpse of the seven-time Tour de France winner. Lance Armstrong said, "I feel good, it's a little bit long."

Fan Adrian Arzola traveled from Tulare to see the race. He said "I'm a pretty big fan of Lance Armstrong because he's an amazing athlete and I just wanted to come out here and check it all out and get the whole experience."

Cari Emerson, who traveled from San Jose, says "What's cool is he's the one that got us hooked on cycling."

Armstrong is no stranger to Visalia. He competed in the South Valley early in his cycling career. When asked how he feels to be back in Visalia, Armstrong said "Many moons ago, many moons ago. It's good to be back."

The sidewalks of the race track filled with yellow chalk, a different kind of welcome sign. As the cyclists signed autographs and greeted fans, they said they were happy Stage Five brought with it clear skies and sunshine.

American professional cyclist Floyd Landis said, "It's beautiful. The sun's here. I think everybody is just happy if the sun comes out so it's all good."

It took a couple hours for crews to break down the starting line and surrounding stages. The same "START" sign is used at every leg of the tour so it now moves on to Solvang for Stage Six.

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