Merced County Times Newspaper
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Tour of California bows out; local organizer disappointed

Last week, events company AEG announced the Amgen Tour of California, the top cycling event in the United States for the past 14 years, would be put on hold for the foreseeable future.

AEG did not detail any specific reasons for it, but suggested the tour would not be coming back until they figure out how to better finance the event.

“This has been a very difficult decision to make, but the business fundamentals of the Amgen Tour of California have changed since we launched the race 14 years ago,” said Kristin Klein, president of the Amgen Tour of California, in a statement. “This new reality has forced us to re-evaluate our options, and we are actively assessing every aspect of our event to determine if there is a business model that will allow us to successfully relaunch the race in 2021.”

Before the announcement, Merced was considered a top candidate for Stage 2 of the race. The Merced City Council had voted to send a letter of intent to help bring the race to town, and local businessman and cycling event organizer, Doug Fluetsch, was gearing up for fundraising and race preparations.

“I am really disappointed,” Fluetsch told the Times. “Not so much to not have the race, although that in itself is a disappointment, but what was so great about this was the enthusiasm the community had built around the event in such a short time. There were plans for beautification projects around town, folks were planning their time around the event, there were so many calls offering to help. …

“The city management was planning and moving forward at a really fast pace with full throttle momentum. It was just a great thing to see building from all sides.

“Then without any notice or indication at all AEG, the company that owns the Tour of California, cancels the event. There would be several reasons based on speculation why it was canceled, especially after AEG had so much in motion, but regardless of the reason, it is just a huge disappointment.”

Fluetsch added: “Looking for the silver lining, it certainly reassured my faith in the community though to see how well it was being embraced.”

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