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FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE:
SAUSALITO Announced as Host City for EXPANDED
2009 Amgen Tour of California
World-Class Professional Cyclists Will Return to California in February to Compete
Across 800 Miles of the State in Nine-Day Stage Race
LOS ANGELES (July 23, 2008) – The record-setting Amgen Tour of California professional cycling road race will be expanded in 2009, race presenter AEG announced today through a series of press conferences throughout the state. The 2009 race will include stops in 16 host cities over the course of nine days from February 14-22. Already considered cycling’s most important and successful road race in the United States, the event’s fourth running will be expanded to cover more than 800 miles over the nine days. Traveling almost the entire length of California, the race will begin in the state’s capital, Sacramento, and end in San Diego County (a new addition to the race) with a finish in Escondido on February 22. Also for the first time, the riders will cross the Golden Gate Bridge at the beginning of Stage 3.
The 16 official stage start and finish cities that have been selected for the 2009 race include eight new locales – Davis, Santa Cruz, Merced, Clovis, Visalia, Paso Robles, Rancho Bernardo and Escondido – that will join Sacramento, Santa Rosa, Sausalito, San Jose, Modesto, Solvang, Santa Clarita and Pasadena as host cities along the route.
Stage Two of the race will start in Davis and end in Santa Rosa on Sunday, February 15. "Since the Amgen Tour of California's inception - when it was still just being floated as an idea - Santa Rosa has embraced this race as a wonderful opportunity. This race is an opportunity to showcase California in all its beauty, to highlight the benefits of cycling on the environment and for personal well being, and an opportunity to elevate the Breakaway from Cancer cause supported by this event,” said Santa Rosa Mayor John Sawyer. “In our fourth year of participation we have seen this race steadily capture the hearts and minds of the community, becoming a rally cry for all the event symbolizes. Spirit, courage, health, integrity, passion... the ATOC symbolizes all of Santa Rosa's most important values."
Stage Three will start in Sausalito on Monday, February 16, cross the Golden Gate Bridge and finish in Santa Cruz. “The City of Sausalito is thrilled to be hosting the Amgen Tour of California bike race for the fourth consecutive year, partnering with the Golden Gate Bridge District and the City of San Francisco in what will be an historic Stage Three of this internationally acclaimed sporting event. Join us President’s Day Weekend as the cyclists depart Sausalito and ride across the Golden Gate Bridge for the very first time,’ said Amy Belser, Mayor of Sausalito. “We welcome all visitors to our scenic waterfront community and promise you an unforgettable experience,”
“Each year, we have been able to make the Amgen Tour of California better,” said Andrew Messick, president of AEG Sports, presenter of the race. “After getting input from riders and fans last year, we decided to expand the race to better showcase the great state of California. We felt it was important to return to Santa Rosa and Sausalito due to the overwhelming support and unique route these two cities have provided in previous years. We are delighted to have such a great overall mix of cities partnering with us for the 2009 Amgen Tour of California and are pleased to include the eight new stops, along with so many of our old friends.”
In its first three years, the Amgen Tour of California has become the most successful race in the United States with regards to attendance, economic benefits to the state, global recognition and the caliber of the cyclists participating. In 2008, the race drew 1.6 million spectators, continuing to set records for a single sporting event in the state of California, as well as any cycling event ever held on U.S. soil. Each year the race has generated $100 million in economic growth for the state.
“This year is a year of exciting firsts for us,” Messick continued. “For the first time, the Amgen Tour of California will take place over nine days, we will make our first visit to the western slopes of the Sierra Nevada and visit San Diego County for what promises to be another exciting conclusion to the race.”
The Amgen Tour of California kicks off the professional road cycling season each year and continues to draw some of the world's most renowned and respected riders, such as top Tour de France competitors, World Champions and Olympic medalists that include Tom Boonen, Paolo Bettini, Fabian Cancellara, George Hincapie, Oscar Freire and Bobby Julich. Winner of the 2007 and 2008 Amgen Tour of California, Santa Rosa resident Levi Leipheimer of the Astana team has had a strong season since his Amgen Tour of California victory earlier in the year and will next be representing the United States in the Olympic Games.
“Winning the Amgen Tour of California has been a goal of mine from the beginning; no matter which races I compete in,” said Levi Leipheimer. “This has always been a top priority for me.”
Last month AEG, presenter of the race, formed a multi-dimensional marketing partnership with the Amaury Sport Organisation (ASO), owner of the Tour de France, to grow and develop each other’s events. Beginning with the 2008 Tour de France and 2009 Amgen Tour of California, the multi-year agreement calls for the organizations to develop and initiate comprehensive cross-promotional platforms for the world’s most prestigious cycling event and America’s most successful cycling race, as well as provide assistance with media and sponsorship sales for the races in their respective regions.
Returning for the fourth consecutive year as the title sponsor of the Amgen Tour of California, Amgen, a leading global biotechnology company with headquarters in Thousand Oaks, Calif., will continue to leverage the race to raise awareness and support for people affected by cancer through the Breakaway from CancerTM initiative. Amgen's invaluable support of the Amgen Tour of California has helped to ensure the race’s continued success and impact beyond the sporting arena.
“Sponsorship of the Amgen Tour of California has given Amgen the opportunity to educate people about the great advances in medicine made possible by biotechnology, and to strengthen our relationships with local communities, cancer support organizations and cancer survivors through our Breakaway from Cancer initiative,” said George Morrow, Amgen’s executive vice president, Global Commercial Operations. "We look forward to another great race in 2009 and the opportunity to again lead the Breakaway from Cancer initiative to increase awareness of the support and educational resources available to help people living with cancer."
Having been sanctioned by the UCI (Union Cycliste International) and USA Cycling, the Amgen Tour of California has drawn the attention of both cycling enthusiasts and first-time spectators, making it one of the most anticipated events on the international cycling calendar.
Beginning with a road stage (a first for the race), which both starts and ends in Sacramento, through the grand finale in Escondido, the 2009 race will visit 16 host cities for official stage starts and finishes, while other cities along the route also will have the opportunity to witness the excitement of elite professional cycling. Stages for the 2009 Amgen Tour of California include:
For further information on the 2009 Amgen Tour of California, please visit www.amgentourofcalifornia.com
ABOUT THE ATOC
Since its 2006 inaugural, the Amgen Tour of California has become one of the pre-eminent professional cycling events in the world with over 100 international cyclists traversing over 700 miles of scenic state highways, back roads and coastline from northern to southern California. An extra day and more varied terrain have been added to the route for 2009 which now starts in Sacramento.
Riding for Team Astana, legendary cyclist and 7-time winner of the Tour de France, Lance Armstrong will be in the peloton, as will ATOC defending champion Levi Leipheimer of Santa Rosa. It will be Armstrong’s first race on U.S. soil since coming out of retirement.
The 2008 event drew 1.8 million spectators – the record for a single sporting event in the State of California, as well as for any cycling event ever held in the U.S. Tour officials estimated that the 2008 race generated $100 million in economic growth for the state. Local merchants in Sausalito also benefited from the influx of visitors over the race weekend.
With stunning bay vistas and waterfront views, and now the Golden Gate Bridge, Sausalito will once again provide a dramatic backdrop for the Amgen Tour of California. The city is again planning a week of race-related activities for locals and visitors alike including the popular Tour de Cuisine.
The Amgen Tour of California is produced by The Anshutz Entertainment Group (AEG) -- one of the leading sports and entertainment presenters in the world with a collection of companies including facilities such as STAPLES Center, The Home Depot Center, Toyota Park, Toyota Sports Center, Anaheim Convention Center Arena, El Rey Theatre, Colosseum at Caesars Palace, NOKIA Theatre at Grand Prairie and NOKIA Theatre Times Square; sports franchises including the Los Angeles Kings (NHL), Los Angeles Riptide (MLL), four Major League Soccer franchises, two hockey franchises operated in Europe, management of privately held shares of the Los Angeles Lakers (NBA) and Los Angeles Sparks (WNBA), the ING Bay to Breakers foot race and the Amgen Tour of California cycling road race. AEG LIVE, the organization’s live-entertainment division, is a collection of companies dedicated to all aspects of live contemporary music performance, touring and a variety of programming and multi-media production. Additionally, the company has begun fully developing London’s 28-acre Millennium Dome which includes a 23,000-seat arena, the O2 and over 650,000sf of leisure and entertainment use within the ‘Dome’ and additional arenas, The O2 World on a 45-acre site in the heart of Berlin, Citizen’s Business Bank Arena in Ontario, California, Sprint Center in Kansas City, Missouri as well as Red Bull Park, a soccer stadium in Harrison, New Jersey and L.A. Live, a $2.5 billion sports and entertainment district in downtown Los Angeles. For more information, visit AEG today at www.aegworldwide.com
Amgen discovers, develops and delivers innovative human therapeutics. A biotechnology pioneer since 1980, Amgen was one of the first companies to realize the new science's promise by bringing safe and effective medicines from lab, to manufacturing plant, to patient. Amgen therapeutics have changed the practice of medicine, helping millions of people around the world in the fight against cancer, kidney disease, rheumatoid arthritis, and other serious illnesses. With a broad and deep pipeline of potential new medicines, Amgen remains committed to advancing science to dramatically improve people's lives. To learn more about Amgen's pioneering science and vital medicines, visit www.amgen.com.
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