Expanded pro cycling race in Truckee-Tahoe eyed | SierraSun.com

Expanded pro cycling race in Truckee-Tahoe eyed

Greyson Howard
Sierra Sun

Ryan Salm/Sierra Sun file photoCyclists race in the Truckee Criterium of the Tour de Nez in 2006.

While most people are thinking about skis and snowboards this time of year, Tim Healion is thinking about bike racing.

Healion, race director for the Tour de Nez, has begun working out the schedule and events for the 2007 edition of the bicycling event. Tentatively scheduled for June 13 through 16, the race will include some old favorites ” and may also see some new additions.

The Thursday-evening Truckee criterium, Friday Tahoe road race, which starts in Tahoe City, and Saturday Reno criterium will remain, Healion said, but the race may grow to include a Wednesday circuit race in Kings Beach, and the Thursday morning time trial may move from Verdi to the Boca-Stampede area.

“We are looking at adding a circuit race in Kings Beach but don’t know if we can do it,” Healion said. “Everybody is interested in it; there are just a lot of variables.”

Andy Chapman, director of tourism at the North Lake Tahoe Resort Association, said he liked the idea of adding another venue to the event.

“Adding Kings Beach would be great ” [Kings Beach is] an important part of our community,” Chapman said.

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The race will be a week earlier than last year, Healion said, which should help alleviate traffic associated with the event in the Truckee-Tahoe area.

“School will still be in ” hopefully that will help traffic issues on the Tahoe road race,” Healion said.

Chapman said that by moving away from the Fourth of July weekend, and applying lessons learned from last year’s race, he expects the traffic problems associated with the race to be lessened. Some aspects of the race, however, will not change, Healion said.

Healion, who owned the former Reno cafe Deux Gros Nez, after which the Tour de Nez is named, said though the restaurant has closed, the race’s name will stay the same.

“We’ll keep the goofy name ” it’s well branded and has good national recognition,” Healion said.

The funky atmosphere that came with the race won’t change either, Healion said.

“Some of the bike [magazines] are excited about the goofy stuff, so we are going to try and expand things like the clunker races,” Healion said.

He said the hand-cycling event was popular as well.

“The hand-cyclists thought it was one of the best events they had ever had,” Healion said.

The Tour de Nez race was in jeopardy after a costly setback during last year’s race.

A contract with the Reno-Sparks Convention and Visitors Authority required television coverage on the Outdoor Life Network, which the Tour de Nez race organization was unable to fund, Healion told the Sun in August.

The conflict was resolved by agreeing to pay back the $20,000 for the Reno-Sparks Convention and Visitor Authority’s sponsorship over the next three years, Healion said.

He said this agreement still stands, but he wasn’t really happy with it.

“I worked out a deal with those guys that was not too much in my favor, but I understand where they are coming from,” Healion said.

He said in contrast he has had nothing but positive experiences with Truckee-Tahoe tourism.