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Cycling tour move revs hopes

May move, Sierra-friendly weather holds promise for local Tour of California supporters
By: Gus Thomson, Journal staff writer
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Hope is taking a new lap around Auburn’s cycling community with the announcement Wednesday that the Tour of California bicycle race is moving to May and starting to plan for more mountainous courses. Andrew Messick, president of the corporation that organizes the tour, told Cyclingnews that next year’s tour will take place from May 16 to 23. A May tour will give AEG Sports a chance to plan a course that takes advantage of Sierra Nevada terrain that is covered in snow in February, Messick said. The last two tours have been held during February in mostly rainy weather. This year’s race included a short run in Downtown Sacramento, featured cycling superstar Lance Armstrong and drew a large crowd. That’s as close as the race has come to Auburn. Dan Tebbs, owner of Downtown Auburn’s Victory Velo Bike Shop, said that he could see a route starting in Folsom and traveling around Folsom Lake before traveling to Coloma and then over Highway 49 for a finish in Downtown Auburn. “And it could finish in front of my store,” he said. The local effort to gain a piece of a leg of the tour would depend on city of Auburn support, Tebbs said. It could be a pass by the tour through Auburn or perhaps a start for a stage climbing uphill into the Sierra, he said. “Auburn could be a great destination and it would be a boost to the local economy,” Tebbs said. Auburn Bike Works owner Lisa Kodl, a member of the Auburn Endurance Committee, said February’s tour stop in Sacramento provided her with a glimpse of how many people from other areas of the country and the world visit to take in the event. “It’ll take money (to bring the tour to Auburn),” Kodl said. “I’m pretty sure how that works. But it would also generate a lot of funds for the city.” Messick said the approval by the International Cycling Union of the May date likely preserved the event from being cancelled. The Journal’s Gus Thomson can be reached at gust@goldcountrymedia.com.