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On the start line in California

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Thumbs up from cycling fan and rider Patrick Dempsey

Thumbs up from cycling fan and rider Patrick Dempsey
(Image credit: Jonathan Devich/epicimages.us)
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The RadioShack bus attracted a huge crowd

The RadioShack bus attracted a huge crowd
(Image credit: Jonathan Devich/epicimages.us)
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Veteran Jens Voigt (Saxo Bank) talks on stage

Veteran Jens Voigt (Saxo Bank) talks on stage
(Image credit: Jonathan Devich/epicimages.us)
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The peloton awaits the start

The peloton awaits the start
(Image credit: Jonathan Devich/epicimages.us)
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Rory Sutherland (United HC) gets questioned before the start

Rory Sutherland (United HC) gets questioned before the start
(Image credit: Jonathan Devich)
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A BMC trio

A BMC trio
(Image credit: Jonathan Devich)
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Hincapie gets lots of questions from the media

Hincapie gets lots of questions from the media
(Image credit: Jonathan Devich)
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The start was the last chance for an autograph

The start was the last chance for an autograph
(Image credit: Jonathan Devich)
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Levi Leiheimer (RadioShack)

Levi Leiheimer (RadioShack)
(Image credit: Jonathan Devich)
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A last chance to talk tactics

A last chance to talk tactics
(Image credit: Jonathan Devich)
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Quick Step are serious today

Quick Step are serious today
(Image credit: Jonathan Devich)
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George Hincapie (BMC) signs an autograph

George Hincapie (BMC) signs an autograph
(Image credit: Jonathan Devich/epicimages.us)
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Hincapie shows the stars and stripes

Hincapie shows the stars and stripes
(Image credit: Jonathan Devich/epicimages.us)
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The crowds await the riders

The crowds await the riders
(Image credit: Jonathan Devich/epicimages.us)
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Oscar Pujol of the Cervelo TestTeam

Oscar Pujol of the Cervelo TestTeam
(Image credit: Jonathan Devich/epicimages.us)
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Garmin-Transitions need some extra width for their bus

Garmin-Transitions need some extra width for their bus
(Image credit: Jonathan Devich/epicimages.us)
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A lucky rider gets a pre-race massage

A lucky rider gets a pre-race massage
(Image credit: Jonathan Devich/epicimages.us)
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Liquigas-Doimo talk tactics

Liquigas-Doimo talk tactics
(Image credit: Jonathan Devich/epicimages.us)
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Manuel Quinziato (Liquigas-Doimo) was all smiles

Manuel Quinziato (Liquigas-Doimo) was all smiles
(Image credit: Jonathan Devich/epicimages.us)
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Jelly Belly riders are popular with kids

Jelly Belly riders are popular with kids
(Image credit: Jonathan Devich/epicimages.us)
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BMC: it says it on the bus

BMC: it says it on the bus
(Image credit: Jonathan Devich/epicimages.us)
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BMC get ready to race

BMC get ready to race
(Image credit: Jonathan Devich/epicimages.us)
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Hincapie attracts a crowd

Hincapie attracts a crowd
(Image credit: Jonathan Devich/epicimages.us)
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No smiles from Quick Step at the start

No smiles from Quick Step at the start
(Image credit: Jonathan Devich)

After seven hard days of racing, the Amgen Tour of California began its final stage on Sunday. However instead of a deserved procession or flat criterium stage, the riders were faced with a testing course containing Mulholland Highway climb, which takes the peloton up 1,000 feet.

The course starts in The Oaks shopping mall and was full of fans waiting to see the stars come off the team buses one last time.

With just a handful of seconds separating the main challengers there was still everything to play for. Check out these images from the start line.