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Tour of California officials consider Tahoe for the race

Jason Shueh
Tahoe Daily Tribune

Lakewide, officials are anxious to know if pro cycling’s Amgen Tour of California will select Lake Tahoe to kick off its 2011 race, a choice that could spell huge revenues for basin businesses.

Last week, site inspectors with Amgen visited the region to evaluate the lake as a potential race route, accompanied by Andy Chapman from the North Lake Tahoe Business Association and representatives from Squaw Valley USA and Northstar-at-Tahoe.

During the two-day visit, inspectors toured the proposed route that begins in South Lake Tahoe before wrapping around the lake one and a half times, to end at either Northstar or Squaw. According to the proposal, the first two stages of the race would take place at either Squaw or Northstar, although it’s unsure which resort venue will host the start of both stages. While the second stage would begin at one of the resorts, it most likely will end somewhere outside the basin.

Chapman described the inspectors’ impressions as positive.

“I think they certainly were interested in what they saw,” Chapman said.

An announcement is expected sometime in mid to late September, after inspectors finish visiting other areas in the hunt, Chapman said.

“Now we’re going to have to sit on the sidelines and wait it out,” he said.

Hosting the Amgen tour would solidify Tahoe as a cycling designation by its national and international media presence, said Carol Chaplin, the executive director of the Lake Tahoe Visitors Authority. It could also be a catalyst for local businesses.

“If you look at some of the other communities that have been tour hosts like Santa Rosa, their businesses have evolved to support the cycling culture,” she said. It’s very inspiring to see how every different organization around the basin is 100 percent behind us.

If Tahoe is selected, Chapman and the influx of professional talent combined with a sure-to-be large tourist crowd will mean a huge economic boost for the region.

The race would bolster Tahoe as a bike and vacation destination nationally and internationally as it’s televised on the Versus cable network in the United States and abroad in Europe, said Julie Maurer, vice president of marketing and sales at Booth Creek Ski Holdings, which manages Northstar.

In 2010, the stage 1 race start was in Nevada City, ending in Sacramento, with stage 2 starting in Davis and ending in Santa Rosa.