Amgen leaders plan on better climate, economic forecast

12:12 AM, Feb 10, 2010   |    comments
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SACRAMENTO, CA - Leaders of the 2010 Amgen Tour of California have officially announced the tour will start three months later than last year.

This years race will take place on May 16.

"There has always been some concern about the weather," said Steve Hammond, president of the Sacramento Convention and Visitor's Bureau. He said the calendar move allows for a more favorable forecast, both climatically and economically.

"Last year we did a little more than $8 million of economic impact over the five days the tour was here," he said. "We're hoping by moving it to May we'll have nicer weather and folks will do a little bit more."

The first stage of the tour will bring riders south from Nevada City, through Grass Valley, Auburn, Cool, El Dorado Hills and eventually to the state capitol in Sacramento.

The route has merchants of businesses big and small ecstatic.

"Every year we do see a bit of a pickup," said Brian Durling, general manager of Mike's Bikes on I Street. "In the past it's been in February, so we see a little bit of growth with all the excitement."

Durling said his team expects the May date will bring even more business than year's past.

"Not everyone is thinking about riding, it's cold and it's raining," he said. "May, there's a little bit nicer weather, a little more exciting racing."

Christopher Jones, a local rider on Team Type 1, attended a news conference Tuesday morning which announced the new details. "It's going to be very cool to have guys that I race with all around the world here on my home roads," Jones said. "You know they always talk about home court advantage in football and basketball. It's kind of the same way for us."

It's that same notion of home court advantage that has Hammond excited as well because the stage one finish line is in Sacramento. "Even though the race doesn't happen until Sunday the teams will actually get here on Wednesday. So we get five days of the activity." .

The Amgen Tour will also be a huge boom for Nevada City, where stage one beings.

This year's starting point has a long history of cycling. The Nevada City classic will celebrate its 50th anniversary. Locals like Rita Fuenzalida, a manager at a coffee shop, said they can't wait for the riders to roll through town.

"This is just going to be a great shot in the arm when things are starting to get busy," said Fuenzalida. "It kind of launches summer for us."

Stage two of the 2010 Amgen will start in Davis on Monday, May 17; it's a little longer than stage one's 104 miles.

Riders will put 109 miles behind them before they roll into Santa Rosa on Monday afternoon.

by Nick Monacelli nmonacelli@news10.net

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