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UPDATE: Amgen cycle tour returns to SCV in 2009

City hosts start of Stage 8 on Feb. 21, officials announce

Posted: July 23, 2008 2:15 p.m.
Updated: September 24, 2008 5:03 a.m.

Assemblyman Cameron Smyth (center) joins Ken Pulskamp, Santa Clarita city manager, at City Hall this morning to announce the return of the Amgen Tour of California cycle race to the Santa Clarita Valley in February 2009.

 
The Amgen Tour of California bicycle race will return to the Santa Clarita Valley for a third straight year in February.

Santa Clarita will host the start of Stage 8 to Pasadena — a challenging course spanning about 150 miles — on Saturday morning, Feb. 21.

Race promoters AEG Sports made the announcement Wednesday morning in France, where the Tour de France race is in full swing, according to Santa Clarita Mayor Bob Kellar.

City Manager Ken Pulskamp, California Assemblyman Cameron Smyth, R-Santa Clarita, and Rick Gould, the city’s Parks, Recreation and Community Services director, joined Kellar at a City Hall press conference Wednesday to share the news.

“It’s a win-win for all concerned,” Kellar said, noting the dollars generated by the race through the SCV provide a major benefit to the community.

Pulskamp said the Tour of California race in late February this year, when the city hosted the finish of Stage 6 and the start of Stage 7, pumped about $1.7 million into the local economy.

The race “also showcases our city to a national and international audience” via extensive media coverage, he said, describing the Tour of California as a “world-class cycling event second only to the Tour de France."

Smyth added that statewide, the 2008 Amgen race from Santa Rosa south to Pasadena had a financial impact “upward of $100 million — a tremendous boon” to California.

In its fourth year, the Tour of California race has been expanded to nine days from eight the last two years. It starts in Sacramento Feb. 12 and ends in Escondido Feb. 22, stretching into San Diego County for the first time.

AEG’s expansion of the route and scheduling for 2009 are why Santa Clarita is hosting a start only instead of a finish and a start.

“For a couple years, AEG has been trying to get into San Diego County, and when they did that and added the extra day, it bumped all the dates of the tour back,” Gould said. “That put us in the position of having to decide whether a start or a finish would be best for us.

“I think instead of a finish on a Friday in the middle of the commute, hosting a start on a Saturday that’s a community event made the most sense for Santa Clarita.”

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