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Our View: Endurance connection between Armstrong, Auburn is natural fit

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The following is an open letter to cyclist Lance Armstrong, who has been reported to be joining the Tour of California ride in February. Dear Lance Armstrong: When the word started spreading through the cycling community that the Tour of California would be on your list of races leading up to a return to the Tour de France in 2009, we were excited. The route for the Sacramento leg of the race has yet to be decided and we’re confident that race director AEG Sports will make the right choice and send the route east to the scenic and challenging hills of this area. The Tour of California is the nation’s top cycling competition and would be a natural fit for a second race after Australia in your return to racing. We’re looking forward to the official announcement. A little about Auburn. Over the past several years, as cycling has taken off, so too has the use of the winding, picturesque back roads of this area. For a hill climber like yourself, an early uphill course would give you and the cycling world an opportunity to gauge where you are and where you need to be by France in the summer. We’re also known as the Endurance Capital of the World. The community is the focal point for the Western States 100 Endurance Run, Tevis Cup 100-mile horse ride, and World’s Toughest Half triathlon. Auburn is also a hotbed in the battle against cancer. We’ve heard much about your Livestrong Foundation and your plans to use the 2009 season to draw more attention worldwide to surviving cancer. One group in town, the Auburn Community Cancer Endowment Fund, raised $1.5 million within the community to establish an endowment at a nearby university for research on a cure. This is where you come in. We’d highly recommend that you take part in your first Tour of California, making a commitment to boost American cycling. And then we’d ask that you use your clout on selecting a route to bring the race to the foothills, through Auburn, where endurance is part of the culture – both in sports and in the fight against cancer.