Tour of California News

Posted on 31. Aug, 2010 by in news

Cities interested in hosting a stage for the 2011 Amgen Tour of California either start, finish or time trial, had to submit their proposals by August 13. The 8-stage race, in its sixth year, will be held from May 15 to 22 in 2011.  News has been slowly filterin in as to who wants in and who doesn’t.

Host cities will be announced in October 2010.

Tahoe start? As reported by the Sierra Sun, Amgen Tour of California officials visited the Lake Tahoe region two weeks ago to evaluate the region as a potential kickoff to the 2011 edition. The proposed route would start at South Lake Tahoe, loop around the lake one-and-a-half times to finish on the north shore, at either Northstar-at-Tahoe resort or at Squaw Valley USA. The bid includes a proposal for two stages, with the next stage starting in either resort in Tahoe and taking the riders out of the basin to the next stop.

Auburn wants in too.  In 2010, stage 1 passed through the city of Auburn and now the local organizing committee has submitted a bid to host a start in 2011. Head of the committee, Chamber of Commerce CEO Bruce Cosgrove,  told the Auburn Journal  that it would cost $75,000 to play host.  Calling itself,  ‘the Endurance Capital of the World’, Auburn is situated approximately 800 vertical feet above the confluence of the North Fork and Middle Fork of the American River between Sacramento and Lake Tahoe in central California.

In 2010, the race started off with a road stage from Nevada City to Sacramento, with the next day starting in Davis to end in Santa Rosa.

How about Paradise? In 2010, representatives from Chico, Paradise and Oroville put together a bid to bring the Amgen Tour of California to Butte County. While they were not awarded a stage in 2010, they have re-submitted a proposal for the 2011 race, submitted by the city of Chico. In the foothills of Northern California’s Sierra Nevada Mountains Butte County community sits astride a ridge top with elevations ranging from 2,000 to 2,800 feet above the valley floor.

Riders go down the rainy coast towards Santa Cruz in 2009 Amgen Tour of California

Riders go down the rainy coast towards Santa Cruz in 2009 Amgen Tour of California

No Santa Cruz. After two years of hosting a stage, with its tough Bonny Doon climb, Santa Cruz officials decided not to submit a proposal to host a stage due to tough economic times. The Santa Cruz Sentinel reports that the city is facing a $2.2 million deficit even after measures were taken including a 10% cut in salary through furloughs for its employees.

In 2010, the city invested $190,000 including police overtime costs and came out ahead 10,000 through sponsorships, events and merchandise. But that investment costs did not include the time spent on planning from all the other city staff.

Neighboring city Capitola, was contacted to host but decided to pass for now after looking at the resources needed to support a stop in the Tour.

Epic proposal from Santa Rosa. For the sixth year, Santa Rosa has submitted a proposal again to host a stage with a preferred option would be for a downtown finish, same as last year. Other options were also provided including a 3.8 mile loop around the A Place to Play Park, a 3.3 mile loop highlighting Historical Railroad Square and a challenging Fountaingrove Circuit with sharp climb though the northern hills of Santa Rosa.

The proposal also included what was called the “Epic Stage”, a 134-mile loop with 8,500 feet of climbing. Starting in Santa Rosa, the stage would go through the Russian River and Dry Creek valleys, over Skaggs Springs Road to the coast, south on Highway 1 to Carmet and over Coleman Valley Road to Occidental to finish in Santa Rosa.

For the inaugural race in 2006, the 80.2-mile (129.1-km) stage 2 started off in Sausalito, took the riders through the Golden Gate National Recreational Area, to Occidental Road to end with a 3 finishing circuits in Santa Rosa. The following year, the stage was expanded to take in Coleman Valley Road before Occidental making it 97.2 miles (156.4 km) long. Santa Rosa also hosted the start for the next stage ending in Sacramento. The stage followed the same route in 2008.

In 2009, the city once again hosted a finish, for the first road stage, a 107.6-mile (173.2-km) affair, which started in Davis over Howell Mt Road and Petrified Forest Road to end in 3 finishing circuits, all in nasty cold and rainy weather conditions. This year, the stage also started in Davis, up to Monticello Dam followed quickly by the difficult “Cardiac Hill”. After a long, flat section along Lake Berryessa, another climb, the third, up Howell Mountain Rd., followed by a fast descent into Napa Valley along the famous Silverado Trail. After one final climb up the Oakville Grade and a steep descent down Trinity Grade, the cyclists finished the race in Santa Rosa with no finishing circuits. For the past two years, Santa Rosa has not hosted a start.

Other repeats. After last year’s success as the first start city, Nevada City has submitted a proposal once again.

Big Bear Lake put in a proposal to host a stage finish once again in 2011. One of the proposed routes would include a start and finish in San Bernadino County. The city council has approved a maximum $135,000 to cover event expenses for this year. Last year, expenses host the first-ever mountain top finish were estimated to be $147,000 with $190,000 brought in as revenue, derived from sponsorships, contributions from the four funding partners, merchandise sales and other smaller items.

Massive crowds at Big Bear watching the final sprint

Massive crowds at Big Bear watching the final sprint

Solvang wants in again. After hosting the time trial for three years, from 2007 to 2009, and not being chosen last year, Solvang has decided to put in a proposal for next year. Once again, the bid provides alternatives, including two routes that are longer than the ones previously used.

The Executive Director of the visitors bureau, told the Santa Maria Times that the local economic impact was estimated at $1 million for the weekend with the stage held on the Friday. In 2009, the race drew an estimated 2 million spectators across the state and more than 15,000 in the Santa Ynez Valley.

In 2010, the time trial was held in Los Angeles.

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