Wednesday, May 27, 2009

Local coalition lines up to bring Amgen Tour of California through Bakersfield next year

It looks like the local effort to bring the Tour of California bicycle race to Bakersfield is picking up some important steam. For the uninitiated, the Amgen tour is this country's only major race featuring the pro cycling teams that compete in the Tour de France, Giro d'Italia and other major events. It's quite a spectacle that draws thousands of visitors along the roadsides to see the world's best professional cyclists. It would be terrific for tourism and local businesses, and would show off our city well. Normally it starts somewhere in northern California, winds down through the coast, hitting places like San Luis Obispo and Santa Barbara, before ending up somewhere in Los Angeles. The only thing preventing the tour from coming to Bakersfield is money and local support. And that seems to be changing. One of the driving forces behind all this is Kerry Ryan, owner of Action Sports over off Brimhall Road. He's part of a coalition that involves the Convention and Visitor's Bureau, some city and county officials and other local supporters, including The Californian and American General Media. Don Cohen, head of the convention and visitor's bureau, says $161,000 has already been raised to bring the tour to Bakersfield. A decision should come some time in July. If it happens, we'll be seeing pros like Lance Armstrong, Levi Leipheimer, Ivan Basso, Carlos Sastre and others here next year. Stay tuned. (photo of 2009 winner Levi Leipheimer courtesy of the official Amgen website)

1 comment:

Wayne Kress said...

Wouldn't THAT be something?!