2009 Amgen Tour of California Makes Valley Stops

By: Alex Murray

The 2009 Amgen Tour of California will be making some stops in the Central Valley.

Officials for the tour announced on Wednesday that Merced, Clovis and Visalia would serve as three of the host cities for the event.

The tour is one of the most successful world-class cycling races in the United States, with its success mostly{}due to{}the attendance of fans and economic benefits the event brings to its host cities.

Organizers say the move to bring part of the tour to the Valley was an attempt to "spice up the event" and make it more challenging for the riders.

The Mayor's of both Clovis and Visalia said that no public money is being spent on the event, and that all money needed for the Amgen tour will be raised through private funds and fundraiser's.

"It's the beginning of a long process," said Clovis Mayor Bob Whalen, who recognized that while raising the money won't be easy, it will be doable.

The nine-day tour is scheduled to be held from February 14th-22nd, stopping in 16 different cities across the state. Cyclist will begin in Sacramento, and end in San Diego County passing through Davis, Santa Cruz, Merced, Clovis, Visalia, Paso Robles, Rancho Bernardo, Escondido, Santa Rosa, Sausalito, San Jose, Modesto, Solvang, Santa Clarita and Pasadena along the way.

The race, which is modeled after the Tour de France, features elite professional cycling teams from around the world competing for the highest prize purse of any cycling race in North America.

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