Claremont will be a host city for the 2011 Amgen Tour of California, an annual cycling road race that is one of the most well-known races in the U.S., race presenter AEG announced Oct. 7.
The sixth annual tour, which is sponsored by the biotech company Amgen, will begin on May 15 in Lake Tahoe and finish on May 22 in Thousand Oaks, where Amgen’s headquarters are located. The tour will cover over 800 miles.
“About 50 cities applied, and 15 were awarded a start or a finish,” said Claremont Mayor Linda Elderkin. “The [City] Council is very enthusiastic about it. They supported it unanimously.”
The city will host the seventh stage of the tour, which begins in Claremont on the morning of Saturday, May 21, and finishes that afternoon in Mt. Baldy Village.
“We’re the stage with the mountain climb, which the cyclists seem to think is so wonderful,” Elderkin said.
According to Colin Tudor, Claremont’s Assistant to the City Manager, the city was originally approached by a vice president of AEG, the tour presenter, and asked to submit an application.
“They were looking for the mountaintop finish that Baldy presented, so then they were trying to find a city somewhere along the foothills that could host a start, and they asked us,” he said.
According to Elderkin, the city’s involvement with the road race “fits into the spirit of the community.”
“Claremont is a biking community,” she said. “We have won several awards for our biking programs, [and] we have a very active biking community.
“It also fits into the spirit of economic development in Claremont,” she added. “I think the community thinks it will bring thousands of people to Claremont, who will see what a lovely town it is, who may come back to dine in the restaurants, to shop in the stores.”
Projected costs for the city are around $100,000, according to Elderkin. So far, the Chamber of Commerce Board and the Business Improvement District (BID) have each pledged $30,000 to the event. The city is looking for sponsorships and contributions to cover the remaining costs, though it has promised to back those costs if the funds aren’t raised, Elderkin said.
The city is also responsible for providing “quite a lot” of hotel rooms for the event, as well as 400 to 500 volunteers to assist with organizing, Elderkin said. So far, the city has no plans to involve the 5Cs directly in the planning process.
Tudor also pointed to a “mass participation week” before the tour date that will give amateurs the chance to ride the route on their own.
“We’re planning around commencement. It’ll probably be the seventh of May,” he said.
For now, city officials are still exultant at receiving the offer to host. “It will be a very major event,” Elderkin said. “Lance Armstrong says he and his RadioShack team are going to ride—we hope that’s true.”