Amgen Tour of California road cycling race put on hiatus for 2020 | SierraSun.com

Amgen Tour of California road cycling race put on hiatus for 2020

Staff report
FILE — The Amgen Tour of California men's race finished a stage in South Lake Tahoe in 2015.
COURTESY PHOTO

The Amgen Tour of California will not return to Lake Tahoe in 2020, nor will it appear anywhere in the state.

AEG Sports announced Tuesday that the bicycle stage race, one of California’s largest professional sporting events and only UCI race in the United States, will go on hiatus for a year.

“This has been a very difficult decision to make, but the business fundamentals of the Amgen Tour of California have changed since we launched the race 14 years ago,” said Kristin Klein, president of the Amgen Tour of California and executive vice president of AEG Sports in a press release. “While professional cycling globally continues to grow and we are very proud of the work we have done to increase the relevance of professional cycling, particularly in the United States, it has become more challenging each year to mount the race. This new reality has forced us to re-evaluate our options, and we are actively assessing every aspect of our event to determine if there is a business model that will allow us to successfully relaunch the race in 2021.”

According to the release, the race over the first 14 years has contributed more than $3.5 billion to the state’s economy.

South Lake Tahoe has historically been involved with the race in most years. Last year the race went over Carson Pass, Luther Pass, down into Meyers before traversing Pioneer Trail to finish at Heavenly Mountain Resort.

Carol Chaplin, President of the Lake Tahoe Visitors Authority, said the economic impact varied whether South Lake Tahoe was hosting the start or finish, but the real impact will be the global branding of Lake Tahoe.

“The value for the LTVA is the tremendous global awareness that allows the South Shore to shine among the elite cycling destinations and highlight our access to great cycling, outdoor recreation and lifestyle.”

The race since the beginning in 2006 showcased some of the best known riders in the world, including numerous world, Olympic and national champions.

The international competition carries the distinction of being the only U.S.-based event that has both its men’s and women’s races listed on the UCI WorldTour calendar while also being the only event of its kind that concurrently produces men’s and women’s stage races that offer equal prize money.

“On behalf of USA Cycling, I would like to thank AEG, Kristin and her team for providing an outstanding showcase for the sport in America and for our American athletes,” said Bob Stapleton, Chairman of USA Cycling in the release. “We stand ready to help rally additional support and resources in the hopes of resuming this event in 2021.”

The competition has also been praised for creating a global platform to feature current and next-generation U.S. cyclists, showcase the picturesque state of California, introduce the sport to millions of new fans and promote cycling as a healthy lifestyle, according to the release.

“I would like to sincerely thank the teams, the cyclists, sponsors, volunteers, elected officials, host cities, and all of the fans that helped make the Amgen Tour of California ‘America’s Greatest Race,’” Klein said. “Most of all, I would like to recognize the hard work and dedication of my team who have tirelessly worked alongside me, each and every year, to develop the renowned event. I also would like to thank our governing body, USA Cycling, UCI and Amaury Sport Organisation for their continued support.”

The story was originally published by the Tahoe Daily Tribune, a sister publication of the Sierra Sun.