A second dose of Amgen? Time will tell | TheUnion.com

A second dose of Amgen? Time will tell

Three months after the cyclists and fanfare of the Amgen Tour of California pedaled out of Nevada City, the town is waiting to hear if it will score a coveted tour spot again.

Nevada City was one of the cities officially invited to submit a proposal for the eight-day bike race. Lake Tahoe and Auburn have also applied to be host cities; race organizer AEG’s spokesman declined to say which other cities applied.

Nevada City promoters submitted an application two weeks ago, and are waiting for an announcement in late September or October.

“There’s not much else we can do. We can’t really lobby any more,” said local race organizer, businessman and City Councilman Duane Strawser.

The mid-May race, which started in Nevada City this year, attracted thousands of spectators, the biggest names in bike racing and worldwide exposure for Nevada County. Applying again was a no-brainer, Strawser said.

“It can only be positive for the area as far as exposure,” he added.

Hosting a stage comes at a cost. Organizing committees must fundraise to provide law enforcement, some lodging and other resources for hundreds of riders and support staff.

The public relations value, local officials say, is priceless.

No city is guaranteed host city status, AEG spokesman Michael Roth said. San Jose and Santa Rosa are the only host cities who have landed a tour spot each year since the race’s inception in 2006, because they have been ardent supporters of the race, Roth said.

“By changing the route, we’re exposing the race to new fans,” Roth said. “We like to show off the state as much as possible and to make the broadcast fresh.”

Last week, site inspectors with Amgen visited Lake Tahoe to evaluate the area as a potential race route, accompanied by Andy Chapman from the North Lake Tahoe Business Association and representatives from Squaw Valley USA and Northstar-at-Tahoe.

During the two-day visit, inspectors were given tours of the proposed route that would begin in South Lake Tahoe before wrapping around the lake one and a half times and ending at either Northstar or Squaw.

Chapman described the inspectors’ impressions as positive.

“They certainly were interested in what they saw,” Chapman said.

Inspectors did a similar survey last year in Nevada County.

Nevada City’s enthusiastic reception of the 2010 tour will figure into the decision of where to stage the race.

“The decision is based on several factors,” Roth said. “It’s based on experiences we had with returning cities and how the city would fit into the route we’re trying to put together.”

Sierra Sun Staff Writer Jason Shueh contributed reporting from Tahoe City. To contact Staff Writer Michelle Rindels, e-mail mrindels@theunion.com or call (530) 477-4247.

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