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Old February 26th, 2006, 07:02 AM   #61
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Tour of California closing to rave reviews
BY DAVID POLLAK
Knight Ridder Newspapers

THOUSAND OAKS, Calif. - Turns out pro cycling's Amgen Tour of California wasn't an eight-day race after all.

One day early and a little more than 76 miles shy of Sunday's finish line in Redondo Beach, organizers of the 596-mile event that began a week ago in San Francisco declared it a huge success and began talking about 2007.

Stage races traditionally make annual adjustments, and Tour of California organizers made it clear the practice would continue here.

"There's a lot of beautiful places, a lot of challenging places we didn't make it to this year, but we will," said Shawn Hunter, president of AEG Sports. "It's going to be hard to ever say no to these communities that supported us, that pushed our bandwagons, but we're going to do that."

Talk of next year came naturally enough because there's really no doubt about the outcome of the inaugural event.

Even Floyd Landis of Team Phonak, the overall leader since Wednesday's time trial in San Jose, was willing to concede what everybody else had been thinking: He is all but uncatchable.

A Southern Californian, he joked about how winning a tour in his home state would be special: "It's extra sweet because I'm going to In-n-Out Burger afterward."

More seriously, he noted there was just "one day left and it doesn't look too eventful," referring to the fact that Sunday's Stage 7 consists of 10 laps on a 7.65-mile waterfront loop. No windy roads, no strenuous climbs.

There was some of both in Stage 6, an 89.5-mile course that started in Santa Barbara and ended up in the parking lot of the event's title sponsor. Olaf Pollack of T-Mobile won it in 3 hours, 26 minutes and 39 seconds.

And while the victory was important to Pollack - the German cyclist had undergone knee surgery twice in the 19 months since his last stage victory - it had no impact on the overall standings.

The lack of suspense doesn't appear to have cut down on interest.

"Today we cracked a million fans. Our last two days were our biggest on the course," AEG's Hunter said. "When we had this vision two years ago, we knew it'd be a moment of truth for cycling, not just in America but worldwide. I don't think anyone could have scripted it any better."

Other than the Olympics, Hunter said, no sporting event in California has ever attracted more spectators. Because no tickets are sold to any tour event, AEG says it releases its crowd estimates after consulting with law-enforcement personnel, city officials and representatives of USA Cycling.

Pat McQuaid, president of cycling's governing body, the UCI, called the Tour of California "a truly historic event" after following it the last three days.

"It's important for cycling in the USA and important for cycling worldwide," said McQuaid, a former top Irish international cyclist.

He cited California's standing in the world economy, then drove home a point that gets to the source of nearly all financing in pro cycling: sponsorships.

"Practically all of the European teams that are here have sponsors that are connected with this state one way or the other," McQuaid said, "and it's important that they race here for their sponsors."

Eight of the 16 teams in the Tour of California are considered top-tier European teams because they compete on the Pro Tour level. The other eight compete primarily in the United States.

AEG officials said they would spend the next few weeks going over this year's event - first internally, then with teams, sponsors and host communities, such as San Jose. Hunter said he hoped a decision on the 2007 route could be announced within 30 to 45 days.

All of this year's cities have asked to participate next year as well. In addition, Bob Colarossi, AEG's managing director of the race, said he was told at least six others have asked to be considered.

Ultimately, he said he expected next year's race to be a mix of "some new ones and probably some old ones."

While the race probably will stay close to the coast - "We won't be going into the Sierra in February," Colarossi said - it could go farther south toward San Diego. It could take the Peninsula through the Bay Area, rather than the East Bay, as it did this year.

"The only commitment we made" to this year's cities, Colarossi added, "is that we wouldn't make a commitment to anyone until the race is over and we debriefed."
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Old February 27th, 2006, 07:17 AM   #62
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Floyd Landis Wins Tour of California
-
Sunday, February 26, 2006





(02-26) 21:01 PST Redondo Beach, Calif. (AP) --

Floyd Landis won the Tour of California on Sunday after finishing the final stage in the main pack.

Olaf Pollack of Germany took the final stage — 10 laps of a 7.65-mile circuit — in 2 hours, 50 minutes, 27 seconds. But Landis held onto the overall lead for the fifth day since moving to the top with a dominating individual time trial win in San Jose on Wednesday.

David Zabriskie, who won the 2005 Tour de France prologue, finished second overall, 29 seconds behind.

Bobby Julich, the reigning Olympic time trial bronze medalist, finished third, 34 seconds back.

"What can you expect me to say?" said Landis, whose ninth place last year was the best of his four Tour de France finishes. "I'm happy and I'm an hour from home."

An eighth-year pro, Landis has won individual races from California to Langkawi, Malaysia. He's been part of team time trial stage wins in the Tour of France and Tour of Spain.

But the former teammate of retired seven-time Tour de France winner Lance Armstrong left the U.S. Postal Service squad for the 2005 season to become a team leader.

"I was fortunate to win the time trial and then I just tried to maintain the race lead," Landis said.

Juan Jose Haedo of Argentina, who also won two stages, finished second in the final stage. Andr Greipel of Germany was third.

Four riders built nearly an eight-minute lead after 18 1/2 miles of the final stage, but the margin was steadily reduced. The main field was all given the same final stage time.

The event began Feb. 19 in San Francisco with 127 cyclists and progressed nearly 600 miles through 10 starting and finishing cities.

The race was sponsored by Amgen.


URL: http://sfgate.com/cgi-bin/article.cg...s184420S19.DTL
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Old February 27th, 2006, 07:21 AM   #63
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Old February 28th, 2006, 09:17 AM   #64
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To be honest I had no clue about it until I saw it on the news.
I remember I read something about it in this thread but I thought it was still just an Idea...
Hopefully next year it would get more publicity
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Old July 27th, 2006, 12:02 AM   #65
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oops, double post
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Last edited by 612bv3; July 27th, 2006 at 12:13 AM.
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Old July 27th, 2006, 12:06 AM   #66
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TOUR OF CALIFORNIA 2007


CITIES:
San Francisco
Sausalito
Santa Rosa
San Luis Obispo
Santa Barbara
San Jose
Sacramento
Stockton
Seaside
Santa Clarita
Long Beach
Solvang
(all but Long Beach start with the letter "s")

It looks alot like 2006. It's not going to the Sierras or San Diego. Stage 1 is exactly the same from last year. There's so much more to California than the coast line. Maybe next year they can go to Eureka, Lake Tahoe/Sierras and San Diego.
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Last edited by 612bv3; July 27th, 2006 at 12:11 AM.
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