Canceled Tour of California cycling race costs Nevada City | TheUnion.com

Canceled Tour of California cycling race costs Nevada City

John Orona
Staff Writer

For two years, Nevada City Council member Duane Strawser had been preparing for a big announcement from the Amgen Tour of California.

He got it last week, but it wasn’t the one he expected.

The Amgen Tour of California, an eight-day multi-leg cycling race through the Golden State that’s the only top-level World Tour in the United States, had used Nevada City as a host city for one of its race stages in three out of the tour’s 14 years. It was prepared to come to Nevada City again.

“AEG, the world’s leading sports and live entertainment company, today announced that they will put the Amgen Tour of California race on hiatus for the 2020 racing season,” the tour tweeted Oct. 29.

Last week, as Strawser was showing film crews around Nevada County in anticipation of the announcement Nevada City would be a host city for its fourth year, the tour announced a hiatus for the 2020 race season.

“To see it pulled out from under our feet like this was a punch in the gut,” Strawser said. “I wouldn’t say it’s devastating, but it definitely saddens me.”

Strawser said the move was so unexpected that tour officials were coordinating with him just 12 hours prior to the hiatus announcement.

“Nobody saw it coming, even for me as someone who maintains a close relationship with the folks that run the race. I was caught off guard.” Strawser said. “All the cities I’ve spoken to that had contracts for stages next year along with us, it caught everyone off guard.”

Nevada City, which was a stage host city for the Amgen Tour in 2010, 2011 and 2015, would have seen an influx of up to 40,000 people on race day and doled out around $50,000 in guaranteed merchant service contracts, according to Strawser.

Strawser said that while the direct economic benefits may have made up for 10 to 20% of losses suffered from recent public safety power shutoffs, the business community would continue to feel indirect benefits years down the line.

“Really it’s about the buildup, it’s the months before and all the hype once they announce the cities that are hosting,” Strawser said. “We have people who come years later based on seeing us on TV during the race. It’s a long-term ripple effect of economic benefit for our tourist-based economy.”

According to Strawser, who also owns Tour of Nevada City bike shop and was leading the effort to bring the Amgen Tour to Nevada City, said the city would incorporate surrounding communities and would have been the second-to-last leg of the tour, with racers traveling north from Southern California before ending in Sacramento.

“The whole town would have been shut down. This is like a traveling circus,” Strawser said. “This event trumps everything else put together we have in our county tenfold, as far as international exposure.”

To contact Staff Writer John Orona, email jorona@theunion.com or call 530-477-4229.


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