Am­gen Tour of Cal­i­for­nia goes on hia­tus for 2020

Lodi News-Sentinel - - SPORTS - By Mitchel Bobo

Af­ter 14 years, the na­tion’s premier cy­cling race is tak­ing a break.

AEG on Tues­day an­nounced plans to put the 2020 Am­gen Tour of Cal­i­for­nia on hia­tus, a “dif­fi­cult de­ci­sion to make” due to what the pres­i­dent of the race called “busi­ness fun­da­men­tals.”

Since be­ing launched in 2006, Sacra­mento was a host city 11 times — from 2007 to 2011 and then be­tween 2014 and 2019 — sec­ond only to San Jose. It was the only U.S.-based event that has its men’s and women’s races listed on the UCI WorldTour, and show­cased top rid­ing tal­ent from nu­mer­ous in­ter­na­tional and Olympic events.

“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,” said Kristin Klein, pres­i­dent of the race, in press re­lease is­sued Tues­day. “This new real­ity has forced us to reeval­u­ate 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”

The or­ga­niz­ers said in the re­lease that the race over 14 years has contribute­d more than $3.5 bil­lion to the state’s econ­omy.

“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.”

Sacra­mento was ei­ther the starting point or the fin­ish line over the last six races. The city also served as the race pro­logue in 2009 and was an early-stage fin­ish point four other times.

This year’s Stage 2 be­gan in Ran­cho Cor­dova. Other lo­cal cities that have had the tour visit in­clude Auburn (1), Davis (2), Elk Grove (1) and Fol­som (3) — as well as nearby Lodi and Stock­ton.

Slove­nian rider Tadej Po­gacar won this year’s race. Amer­i­can cy­clist Levi Leipheimer is the only man with mul­ti­ple vic­to­ries, tak­ing it three con­sec­u­tive years (200709).

The 2018 cham­pion, Egan Ber­nal of Colom­bia, didn’t com­pete this year. He was sched­uled to com­pete in the Giro d’Italia — an Ital­ian race with over 100 edi­tions that ran con­cur­rently with the Tour of Cal­i­for­nia — but he broke his col­lar­bone while train­ing and im­me­di­ately un­der­went surgery.

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