Amgen Tour: Auburn still in running for spot

Bike race routes to be announced in February
By: Gus Thomson Journal Staff Writer
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Auburn’s role along the Amgen Tour of California remains unclear but organizers now have a firm target date to clarify local routes for the May bike race. Michael Roth, the tour’s vice president of communications, said Friday that the details for each ride route will be given Feb. 1 at the official 2010 Amgen Tour of California route announcement. Local representatives from the city and the biking community have been working with Amgen organizer AEG Sport since the start and finish of the first stage was made public in September. The Nevada City-to-Sacramento stage made Auburn a potential point to pass through. Options include taking the route through Old Town Auburn, Downtown Auburn and along the Foresthill Bridge. And while AEG Sport has sent teams to the area to help develop the stage, it has bypassed the Nevada City-Sacramento route for what will be two of what is calling “Breakaway Rides.” The rides are intended to give amateur cyclists the opportunity to bike an entire stage of the Amgen Tour about a month before the real race starts. The two breakaway rides are April 25 between Davis and Santa Rosa and April 11 between Thousand Oaks and Agoura Hills. Event participation is being capped at 3,500 riders. Dan Tebbs, owner of Victory Velo Bike Shop and a proponent of the Auburn route, said Friday that a local effort is afoot to provide a similar ride before the Tour of California pro race for area amateurs. A new pedaling enthusiasts’ organization – the Sierra Foothills Cycling Club – is talking about a ride over the Nevada-Sacramento stage, he said. Tebbs said he thinks it’s very likely that the tour stage will come through Auburn. Strong support from the community and a good crowd would put Auburn in position to lobby for a future start or finish, he added. “But that will have to wait until February when the route is known,” Tebbs said. Cycling superstar Lance Armstrong headlines a roster of some of the leading cyclists in the world who will be competing in the Tour of California. “It’s like having the Super Bowl in our town for cycling fans,” Tebbs said.