READY, SET, RIDE: Tour de Nez lands in Truckee tonight; event expected to boost economy |

READY, SET, RIDE: Tour de Nez lands in Truckee tonight; event expected to boost economy

Keith Sheffield/Sierra SunProfessional cyclists navigate the twists and turns of downtown Truckee's streets during the Truckee Criterium.

Disregard the economic stimulus checks as a way to fuel the Tahoe Basin economy.The Tour de Nez is rolling through Truckee-Tahoe this weekend, bringing an economic boost to the region and further elevating the areas reputation as a first-class cycling destination. With a greater focus on the Truckee-Tahoe area and a new partnership with Northstar-at-Tahoe which expanded the race from two days to six days bike shops, hotels, Truckee downtown merchants and restaurants are gearing up for the economic boon.Cycling attracts a broad-based crowd, so this will be a viable event for the economic community, said Paco Lindsay, owner of Pacos Truckee Bike andamp; Ski shop.Tim Healion, founder and director of the Tour de Nez, said he expects anywhere between 3,000 and 6,000 people to pour into the Truckee area each day to watch or participate in the international race. The financial support from Northstar also improved marketing strategies this year, generating more publicity for the event from television shows, media sources and magazines, Healion said. Its an opportunity to further brand the area as a great place to go for outdoor recreation, he said. Aside from the economic windfall, the Tour de Nez helps to influence the regions reputation as an attractive cycling location by drawing teams and spectators from Reno to Ireland.It brings in top athletes to the area and also draws in local cyclists from surrounding cities, and they bring sponsors and spectators so it has a snowballing effect, said Harry King, owner of Enviro-rents on the North Shore. Because the race further validates North Lake Tahoe as an outdoor adventure destination, visitor-serving organizations have been promoting the event independently. We believe in this event. We think its right for the Tahoe-Truckee area, said Steve Teshara, executive director of the North Lake Tahoe Resort Association.The resort association is not sponsoring the event this year, but Teshara said his agency has advertised the race in brochures, calendars and other marketing outlets. In addition to the recognition for the region and the events financial benefits, King said he hopes the competition will heighten the awareness of motorists and local planning commissioners about the importance of safe bike lanes. Hopefully people will reconsider what it really takes to have safe cycling lanes so that someday we can have better bike routes on the North Shore and in Truckee, King said.

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