Brian Hamilton: Tour of California hits town in 6 weeks |

Brian Hamilton: Tour of California hits town in 6 weeks

Robert Trent was just getting into the spirit of April 1, when he posted the following as a breaking news item at Thursday:

“Sierra Commons’ Executive Director has been in ongoing conversations with Lance Armstong regarding renting space at Sierra Commons. Lance reportedly is starting a new business related to bike racing and has determined that Nevada City is the best place to do it.”

Of course, it didn’t take too long for folks to figure out Trent’s post was just an April Fool’s Day prank.

But the faux story proved once again that with Armstrong, news travels extremely fast. As The Union’s Liz Kellar reported, picked up on the post and actually argued that such a move only made sense.

And once word reached Armstrong himself, the 2009 Nevada City Classic champion turned to Twitter to comment on the rumor:

“haha. No, not moving there although I love it there,” Armstrong tweeted. “Starting the Amgen Tour of Cali there tho.”

Twitter has been a preferred method of communication for Armstrong and many of his fellow pro cyclists who plan to compete in the Amgen Tour of California stage race that begins in Nevada City on May 16.

As most Nevada County sports fans remember, it was via Twitter that Armstrong confirmed he would race in the 49th annual Nevada City Classic last June, replying to a question posed to him by The Union via his Twitter feed.

The result of that tweet was an estimated 30,000 fans flocking to Nevada City to watch Armstrong dominate the 49th Classic.

This time around – in a little more than six weeks -thousands more are expected to be on hand when Armstrong and teammate Levi Leipheimer lead many of the world’s top pro cyclists through the western Nevada County portion of the opening stage.

Both Armstrong and Leipheimer, the three-time defending Tour of California champion, have won the Nevada City Classic.

An estimated 100,000 spectators turned out for the 2009 opening stage on a cold and drizzly day in Sacramento.

If the crowds here approach anywhere near that number, Amgen officials will be happy to have had the help of local volunteers in order to pull off the opening stage.

Folks who are interested in lending a local hand may do so by visiting the official web site Once there, click on the “Tour” tab and select “Volunteer” on the drop-down menu.

There you’ll find information on volunteer opportunities, such as serving as a course marshal or assisting with media, security details and several other tasks. A volunteer registration form is available and once completed will be forwarded to local volunteer organizers.

So if you don’t want to simply be a spectator on the sidelines when the largest stage race in North America comes to town, be sure to get involved soon.

After all, race day will be here before we know it.

And that’s no joke.

Brian Hamilton is sports editor at The Union. Contact him via e-mail at or by phone at 477-4240.

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