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Amgen skipping the SCV next year

Bike tour changes venues to ‘keep the race fresh’

Posted: October 21, 2009 10:11 p.m.
Updated: October 22, 2009 4:55 a.m.

Riders turn the corner from Sand Canyon Road onto Soledad Canyon Road as they head for the finish line of the Amgen 2009 in Pasadena on Feb. 21. The race started in Santa Clarita

Bicycle businesses and enthusiasts were dismayed to learn Wednesday that the Amgen Tour of California will not be racing through the Santa Clarita Valley in 2010.

Tour officials had selected the valley as a location for the race in each of the last three years, but decided not to include it in this year's race in order to keep the tour interesting for the riders, said Jason Crawford, the city's marketing and economic development manager.

Sites for the tour change frequently, he said. The 2010 map of the race will be released later today.

"We tried to get them to come back again next year," Crawford said. "They told us from the very first year they would be changing locations to keep the race fresh. We're pretty lucky to have had it three years in a row."

Crawford said the tour has had an incredible impact on the city's economy. The thousands of visitors the race brings to the city provide a financial boon to local businesses, especially hotels and restaurants, he said.

The city will try and be a part of the race again next year, Crawford said.

Emmanuel Garcia, the manager of Performance Cyclery on Bouquet Canyon Road, said the race brings people into the shop who become inspired to ride. Most business comes from people who bring in old bikes that haven't been ridden for a while and want to get them ready for the street. Increased interest in cycling usually wanes a few weeks after the race, he said.

Members of the Santa Clarita Velo, a club that organizes bike races and promotes cycling in Santa Clarita, were disappointed the race wasn't coming through the valley, but not surprised.

Chris Stapleton, who organizes mountain biking events for the club, said it was unfortunate.

"I think it's pretty bad it's not coming, but the race goes to different cities," Stapleton said. "I kind of half expected it."

Maria Gutzeit, director of the Newhall County Water District and avid bicyclist, said the tour has generated a great deal of interest in cycling in the city over the last three years.

"It got people excited about cycling, so hopefully we'll have a chance of getting it back," Gutzeit said.

In 2009, Santa Clarita served as the starting point for stage seven of the race, which ended at the Rose Bowl in Pasadena. Lance Armstong finished 44th out of 97 riders for the stage and seventh overall.


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