MODESTO -- Hopeful host cities for the 2013 Amgen Tour of California are playing the waiting game as tour organizers have yet to pin down the general route.
Modesto, Turlock and Sonora are among the area cities that have submitted official bids to host start or finish lines for the May 12-19 cycling spectacle, but tour owner AEG Sports can only say the announcement will come soon keeping potential host cities in limbo.
"I haven't heard anything official," said Jennifer Mullen, the co-chair of Modesto's Tour of California effort and executive director of the convention and visitors' bureau. "All they've said is that they've had a few delays and wanted to make sure the route flows as planned."
This already is the latest AEG ever has waited to reveal the host cities for the following year's race, which moved from February to May in 2010.
The first group of May host cities was unveiled on Oct. 22, 2009, and the 2011 list was made public on Oct. 7, 2010. The list of 2012 host cities was not released until Nov. 3, 2011.
The current delay means, at the very least, that 2013 hosts could have seven fewer weeks to prepare and raise funds for their tour efforts than they did two years ago.
"We've isolated our first choices, but every city that put in a request for proposal is still in the running," Michael Roth, vice president of communications for AEG, told the San Diego Union-Tribune last week. "We were projecting to announce our decisions (Nov. 13) but we're not ready."
Roth added that AEG is hoping to release the list of hosts by the end of the month, but didn't rule out that the process could extend into December.
"Some deals take a little longer than expected," he said.
One of the delays probably is finding a replacement for San Luis Obispo, which had expressed excitement over returning to the Tour route as a starting point. According to the San Luis Obispo Tribune, the city's Tourism Business Improvement District agreed to spend $30,440 for the event, most in the form of donated hotel rooms and reimbursement for police services.
But the Tribune said San Luis Obispo pulled its bid when AEG asked the city to host a finish line, which is a much more costly and time-consuming endeavor.
Escondido could be the city most anxious about the announcement. City leaders there have approved the spending of up to $475,000 to be the Tour's opening-stage start point, an effort that includes a full week of kickoff events before the opening horn.
That news would be consistent with the reports that the the 2013 Tour of California will be running south-to-north for the first time since bursting onto the state's sporting scene in 2006.
AEG also continues to stay mum on that major detail.
"We keep hearing they're going south to north this year," Mullen said. "But nothing's official on that either."
Bee staff writer Brian VanderBeek can be reached at email@example.com or (209) 578-2150. Follow him at twitter.com/modestobeek.