Nevada City’s Amgen chances brighter in 2012 |

Nevada City’s Amgen chances brighter in 2012

Scoring host city status for the 2011 Amgen Tour of California bicycle race had looked doubtful from the start for Nevada City, but the 2012 bid is looking more promising.

“We knew we were not near the route they had planned for this year,” said local organizer Duane Strawser. “But they were trying to fit us in.”

Amgen officials invited the city at the last minute to bid for the honors, but informed locals last Wednesday that Nevada City was out.

Nevada City got the news early; others won’t know for sure whether they’re included until the official host city announcement, expected in the next few weeks.

Strawser spoke last week with Andrew Messick, president of tour organizing company AEG Sports.

Organizers are considering hearkening back to the Coors Classic – the biggest bicycle race in America in the 1980s – as they draft the 2012 route.

That stage race ran from San Francisco to Colorado and included Nevada City in 1985. The stage passed through the canyons of the Yuba River, continued through Downieville, then headed south on Highway 89 to Truckee.

“If we’re fortunate enough to get it another year, I’ll be thrilled,” Strawser said. “If not, we’ll just walk away happy we got it last year.”

Lake Tahoe officials are serious about their bid for the mid-May race and welcomed site inspectors last month.

Auburn leaders also are hoping for a host spot on the tour after it served as a pass-through city in May.

Earlier this year, the city finished phase one of a 10-phase, $20 million project to revitalize downtown, adding a plaza, widening sidewalks and making other cosmetic improvements.

“As a community, we’re making a huge investment downtown,” said Auburn Chamber of Commerce CEO Bruce Cosgrove. “It’s a major facelift that sets the stage for something like an Amgen event.”

The city filmed promotional footage of downtown Auburn earlier this year and contracted a helicopter for aerial shots. If the city lands a spot on the tour, Cosgrove said, that could be leveraged into TV commercials.

“The real benefit would be the long-term exposure – having this community shown to the world,” he said.


To contact Staff Writer Michelle Rindels, e-mail or call (530) 477-4247.

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