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Turlock loses bid for Amgen Tour

Tour leaves Central Valley out in 2013

POSTED November 27, 2012 7:17 p.m.

The Amgen Tour of California bicycle race will not pay a visit to the Central Valley in 2013, organizer AEG announced Tuesday.

The news came as a disappointment to Turlock leaders, who had been asked by race organizers to submit an application to host the start or finish of a race leg for the first time this year.

“We try to change the course up every year,” said AEG spokesman Michael Roth. “In order to hit some of the new cities and some of the new stops, it just worked out that way.”

Turlock competed against roughly 100 cities to host a leg of the 8-day race, which features many of the famous cyclists who compete in the Tour de France. Just 12 cities were selected to host a leg start or finish in the 2013 Tour of California.

The 2013 route will travel from South to North for the first time, beginning in Escondido before winding its way through Southern California, up the Central Coast, and through the Bay Area.

Cyclists will race from Palm Springs to Murrieta, then from Palmdale to Santa Clarita. Santa Clarita will also host the start of leg 4, which ends in Santa Barbara. Santa Barbara, too, will host both a finish and a next-day start, before riders race to Avila Beach.

The race will then move to the Bay Area, where San Jose will host a time trial. Cyclists will then ride from Livermore to Mt. Diablo, before the race concludes with a San Francisco to Santa Rosa leg.

The route marks the first time since the tour’s 2006 debut that the Tour of California has not visited the Central Valley.

Sacramento, Stockton, Modesto, Davis, Merced, Clovis, Visalia, Bakersfield, and Sonora have all hosted stage starts or finishes. San Jose is the only city to have hosted a stage every year.

Roth said that organizers have “nothing against the Central Valley,” but that many cities request to host the prestigious event, which receives worldwide media coverage.

“I expect we’ll be back there,” Roth said, nothing that Santa Barbara had not hosted a stage since 2009.

The route was determined, Roth said, in large part as AEG looked to craft interesting stages. Though a Central Valley city may have submitted a top-notch application, a needed pair city for a leg’s start or finish may have not passed muster.

Turlock Chamber of Commerce CEO Sharon Silva, who led the group which applied to host a leg of the race, received news prior to Tuesday’s announcement that Turlock would not be on the 2013 race route.

According to Silva, AEG officials found Turlock’s application impressive, but passed on the city simply because the chosen race route would not visit the Central Valley.

“Of course we would love to have been a host for the Amgen (Tour of California) this year, but I am hoping that we can maybe do it in the future,” Silva said.

Silva said Turlock leaders had been invited to attend a stage start this year by AEG representatives – a good sign for next year.

AEG’s positive response can be directly attributed to the actions of the community, Silva said.

Organizers asked Turlock to submit an application – requiring more than $50,000 in committed donations should the city be selected – just two weeks away from the due date. Meeting that deadline was possible only because of a combined effort from the City of Turlock, private business, educators, and health professionals.

“It was absolutely amazing how the people of this community came together,” Silva said. “When you see that kind of effort that comes from everyone, it makes you feel positive. It was amazing to do what we did in a couple of weeks.

“The sad news is we’re not on the route.”

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