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Santa Maria Sun / News

The following article was posted on December 6th, 2012, in the Santa Maria Sun - Volume 13, Issue 39 [ Submit a Story ]
The following articles were printed from Santa Maria Sun [santamariasun.com] - Volume 13, Issue 39

Solvang not selected to be host to Amgen Tour

BY KRISTINA SEWELL

Though the Amgen Tour of California professional cycling race whizzed through Solvang in 2007, 2008, 2009, and 2011, the city’s Conference and Visitors Bureau recently revealed that the quaint town won’t play host to this year’s Amgen Tour.

The 750-mile race that starts May 12 in Escondido will instead stop in host cities Santa Barbara and Avila Beach. While organizers submitted the bid this summer for the timed trials, increased tour demands took Solvang off the short list of host cities for this year.

In an interview with the Sun, visitors bureau executive director Tracy Farhad said hosting the tour would require 700 available hotel rooms to house a tour staff of more 1,000 people.

“We had to look at availability and rates; we were even reaching out to sister communities looking for space to accommodate everyone,” Farhad said.

She also said the city of Solvang would be responsible for providing meals for more than 200 media representatives and teams, as well as bagged lunches for start- and finish-line crews, restrooms, and security.

In previous years, Solvang raised more than $100,000 for the tour, but Farhad said the cost of hosting the race has gone up about 20 percent each year. Farhad said she hopes Solvang will be considered in the future, but that the city—as well as Santa Maria—will still benefit from this year’s race.

“The ride will still go through the valley,” she said. “People come from all over to follow the race.”

Even if it’s a one-day event, Farhad said, there’s bound to be mention of Solvang as a great region to visit. Farhad has even had people tell her Solvang is one of the “favorite stages” for this particular race. Since playing host to the Amgen Tour, Solvang has seen an increase in cycling clubs and camps.

Farhad said Solvang hopes to accommodate spectators and media with hotel rooms, food, and a great place to watch the race. The city will also be offering its services to host city Santa Barbara.

“We hope Solvang will be considered for future years and we wish all 2013 host cities a great ride,” she said.