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Modesto and cycling’s Amgen Tour of California could be partners again

The peloton cycles on 10th Street between K and J streets as stage three of the Amgen Tour of California heads from Modesto to San Jose on Feb. 20, 2008.
The peloton cycles on 10th Street between K and J streets as stage three of the Amgen Tour of California heads from Modesto to San Jose on Feb. 20, 2008. Modesto Bee file

The Amgen Tour of California has asked Modesto to apply to host a stage start for the 2017 bicycle race.

It would be the first time since 2011 that some of the world’s elite riders take to Modesto streets as part of the multiday event around the state.

The City Council on Sept. 13 will consider whether staff members should negotiate a contract with race organizers, city spokeswoman Amy Vickery said Monday. The details include hotel space for the teams and support staff, volunteer help, local sponsorships and city services needed for the event.

The request was confirmed Monday by Michael Roth, vice president for communications at AEG, the global sports and entertainment company that owns the tour.

We’ve been to Modesto before,” he said, noting the enthusiastic crowds and helpful officials. “It was a great experience for us. The city fit right in with our route.”

The route will likely be announced in middle to late fall, Ross said. The tour typically takes place in May.

Modesto hosted a stage start in 2008, launching riders on a 103-mile route to San Jose at a downtown event that drew thousands of people. It served the following three years as a finish stage, an even bigger draw for racing fans and the media.

“The community really loves this event,” Vickery said. “It’s good for tourism. It’s good for morale in the city.”

This year, Modesto hosted the tour overnight but did not have any racing – an agreement that drew criticism. The city originally pledged to provide up to $75,000 for hotel rooms and meals as the tour paused between Monterey County and Lodi. AEG later pledged $22,000, and local donors kicked in $6,000.

City officials said that even without racing, the agreement would help Modesto maintain its relationship with the tour. The city also promoted itself with a TV commercial during the race.

The tour has been held annually since 2006 under the sponsorship of the Amgen biotech company and has featured notables such as Lance Armstrong and Levi Leipheimer. Merced hosted a stage start in 2009 and Sonora did the same in 2012.

John Holland: 209-578-2385

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