Turlock Applies to Host Tour of California

Jim Bahn|

The City of Turlock was left off the route of the 2012 Amgen Tour of California bike race, despite what officials said at the time was an outstanding application.

If at first you don't succeed, apply, apply again.

Turlock has been asked to apply to host a leg of the 2013 Amgen Tour of California. On Tuesday, the Turlock City Council endorsed the application.

The prestigious Tour of California is the largest cycling race in America, and one of the biggest in the world after the Tour de France. Most of the globe's top cyclists participate, and more than two million people watch the race.

But last year's route bypassed the Central Valley entirely, instead traversing the Central Coast. It was the first time since the race's 2006 debut that cyclists did not pass through the valley.

“Last year the route did not come within 200 miles of Turlock, which is why we didn't get the nod,” said Turlock City Manager Roy Wasden.

This year, the Tour of California is expected to return to the Central Valley, improving Turlock's chances.

“The information we have this year is that it will pass through Turlock – or at least Stanislaus County,” said Turlock Assistant to the City Manager Ron Reid.

Roughly 100 cities will be asked to apply to host legs of the eight-day race, to be held in May. Route planners will then select the host cities and announce the course in November.

A year ago, Turlock's last-minute application was drafted in just two-and-a-half weeks – no small task for a city that had never been asked to apply before. But the application was quickly completed, impressing Tour of California officials, thanks to the joint efforts of public and private groups.

If chosen, Turlock will manage public safety and road closure. The race would be operated by the Turlock Chamber of Commerce and Convention and Visitors Bureau, under contract with the Tour of California.

Hosting a leg of the race could cost as much as $100,000, with funding coming from private sponsorships and community donations. Turlock would be responsible only for costs associated with street closures, public safety, and clean up.

But the investment could pay off, as officials estimate that Turlock would receive a 3:1 return if it hosts a leg's start, and a 6:1 if Turlock hosts a finish. Sonora drew more than 10,000 visitors for a leg start, and Clovis pulled more than 30,000 for a finish.

Turlock would also be broadcast live throughout more than 200 countries, potentially on NBC in America. Additionally, a 30 second commercial on Turlock would be broadcast in America, with a 30 second promotional feature on the city broadcast worldwide.

“It should bring all kinds of eyes to the City of Turlock,” Reid said.

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