For the second consecutive year, Amgen Tour of California planners asked the City of Turlock to apply to host America's most prestigious bicycle race.
And for the second consecutive year, Tour planners left Turlock off the final route.
The Amgen Tour of California announced the route of its 12-city, eight day bicycle race across the state at 12 noon Tuesday, and Turlock was once again nowhere to be found on the schedule.
Turlock Chamber of Commerce CEO Sharon Silva revealed Tuesday that she received an e-mail and phone call earlier in the week, hinting that Turlock would be left off the final route. The Turlock Chamber of Commerce and Convention and Visitors Bureau would have operated the race, under contract with the Tour of California.
“You just really never know,” Silva said. “It's kinda just throwing your hat in and seeing where it goes.”
Last year, organizers said Turlock was left off the route “despite an outstanding application,” as the race's route didn't come within 200 miles of Turlock. This year, local officials believed the route was heading back to the Central Valley.
“The information we have this year is that it will pass through Turlock – or at least Stanislaus County,” Turlock Assistant to the City Manager Ron Reid said in August.
But once again, the route simply doesn't pass near Turlock. And once again, Silva said Amgen Tour of California planners called to discuss how fantastic Turlock's application was.
“They were very pleased with us both times we applied,” Silva said. “They really encouraged us to try again next year.”
The 2014 route will wind through Sacramento and Folsom before heading to the coast, and away from the Central Valley for good. Cyclists will travel from San Jose to Mount Diablo, from Monterey to Cambria, and Pismo Beach to Santa Barbara before heading inland to journey from Santa Clarita to Mountain High, then from Santa Clarita to Pasadena, with a finale in Thousand Oaks.
Roughly 100 cities were asked to apply to host Tour of California race legs this year.
“We strive to raise the bar each year to present an Amgen Tour of California that not only continues to attract and challenge the world's top cyclists, but also fittingly features and promotes California's unique sights and striking scenery,” said Kristin Bachochin, executive director of the Amgen Tour of California and senior vice president of AEG Sports. “We're confident our worldwide audience will enjoy everything next year's race has to offer – from epic climbs to rolling hills and thrilling finishes by sea, it's a testament to California's iconic terrain.”
Locally, Modesto, Sonora, and Clovis have hosted legs in the past.
Hosting a leg of the race could have cost Turlock as much as $100,000, with funding coming from private sponsorships and community donations. Turlock would have paid for costs associated with street closures, public safety, and clean up.
Despite the costs, planners say the race would have meant big bucks for Turlock – as much as a 6:1 return on investment, with tens of thousands of visitors. Turlock also would have been seen on live TV throughout more than 200 countries.
Next year marks the Amgen Tour of California's tenth anniversary. And Turlock will likely apply, for the third consecutive year, to host a leg of the prestigious race.
But at this point, it's far too early to guess at Turlock's chances for 2015.
“Who knows?” Silva said. “Maybe next year.”