Armstrong and others to finish 2010 cycling ‘Tour of California’ at BC

Gregory D. Cook
November 4, 2009
Filed under News

On May 20, 2010, an estimated 40,000 fans of Tour de France-style cycling will crowd Panorama Drive and Bakersfield College to watch nearly 200 professional cyclists, including seven time Tour de France winner Lance Armstrong, compete in the AMGEN 2010 Tour of California.

At a press conference Oct. 22 at the Park at River Walk, Bakersfield mayor Harvey Hall announced that Bakersfield had been selected as one of the 16 cities to host the starts and finishes of the race’s eight stages.

“Cycling is very popular in Bakersfield,” Hall said.

He cited how a collaborative effort between the public and private sectors made it possible for Bakersfield to be chosen as one of the host cities.

“The local enthusiasm for the sport, as evidenced by our local cyclists and community members, makes Bakersfield an excellent choice.”

The Tour of California covers over 750 miles in eight stages. Next year, the race will begin in Nevada City, Calif., on May 16 and will make its way to a finish in Thousand Oaks, Calif. eight days later. Bakersfield is slated to host the finish of the fifth stage on May 20.

While the exact route of the stage has not been announced, it will start in Visalia and end on the Panorama Bluffs at Bakersfield College.

According to Amber Chiang, director of marketing and public relations for BC, the college is a natural choice for the event.

“We have the room to accommodate all the fans, cycling teams and the international press that will be there,” she said.

The Bakersfield Sports Foundation played a large role in promoting Bakersfield as a host city for the race. Over the last year, they have raised over $162,000 in donations from local organizations and individuals to be used for support and production of the event.

“This is America’s answer to the Tour de France,” said Kerry Ryan, president of the Bakersfield Sports Foundation and an avid cyclist. “This is America’s largest cycling race. It doesn’t get bigger than this.”

Ryan felt the Bakersfield stage of the race would give racers the opportunity to race in the rolling hills north of town.

“We are hoping for a hilly stage,” he said. “We are hoping to get them up into the lower sequoias around the Woody and Glenville areas, then bring them up the bluffs for the finish.”

Local cyclist Dave Moore watched the announcement with 1999 National Road Race champion and wife Susan Moore from their bikes. The Moores and several other local cyclists opened the press conference by riding into the park off of the bike path.

“This is awesome,” said Dave. “It’s great for Bakersfield cycling.”

The title sponsor of the race, AMGEN, is a human therapeutics and biotechnology company that uses the race to promote awareness of the resources available to people fighting cancer.

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