The Amgen Tour of California cycling race has been put on hiatus for the 2020 racing season, according to AEG, the sports and live entertainment company that stages the race.
“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 ATOC and executive vice president of AEG Sports.
“While professional cycling globally continues to grow and we are very proud of the work we have done to increase the relevance of professional cycling, particularly in the United States, it has become more challenging each year to mount the race,” Klein said. “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.”
Launched in 2006, the race had become California’s largest annual sporting event, contributing more than $3.5 billion (based on an economic impact by Beacon Economics) to the state’s economy over the years.
In 2019, the city of Santa Clarita hosted its 14th stage, the most stages of any city in Amgen Tour of California history.
“We did a study years ago that showed we got an estimated $1 million in economic impact for a finish in our city,” Evan Thomason, Santa Clarita economic development associate, said in 2017. A start generates a little less, he said. Either way, he said, “It’s a big benefit to the local economy.”
Each year, the cycling road race has showcased some of today’s best known and most decorated international cyclists, including numerous World, Olympic and National Champions.
The international competition also carries the distinction of being the only U.S.-based event that has both its men’s and women’s races listed on the UCI WorldTour calendar while being the only event of its kind that concurrently produces men’s and women’s stage races that offer equal prize money.
“On behalf of USA Cycling, I would like to thank AEG, Kristin and her team for providing an outstanding showcase for the sport in America and for our American Athletes,” said Bob Stapleton, chairman of USA Cycling. “We stand ready to help rally additional support and resources in the hopes of resuming this event in 2021.”
The competition has also been praised for creating a global platform to feature current and next-generation U.S. cyclists, showcase the picturesque state of California, introduce the sport to millions of new fans and promote cycling as a healthy lifestyle.
Klein continued: “I would like to sincerely thank the teams, the cyclists, sponsors, volunteers, elected officials, host cities, and all of the fans that helped make the Amgen Tour of California ‘Americas Greatest Race.’ Most of all, I would like to recognize the hard work and dedication of my team who have tirelessly worked alongside me, each and every year, to develop the renowned event. I also would like to thank our governing body, USA Cycling, UCI and Amaury Sport Organisation for their continued support.
“We would also like to extend our sincere thanks to Amgen for their incredible support and partnership from day one,” Klein added. “We are proud to have stood together with them to create this amazing legacy.”
Past men’s race champions have included Tour de France General Classification Winners Egan Bernal and Bradley Wiggins; as well as Tour de France Stage Winners George Bennett; Levi Leipheimer; Michael Rogers; Peter Sagan (record 7-time Tour de France Points Classifications winner, and record 17-stage winner at the Amgen Tour of California); and Tejay van Garderen.
Additionally, 10-time Stage Winner Mark Cavendish has won 30 stages at the Tour de France (2nd all-time for both races).
The Amgen Tour of California Women’s Race empowered with SRAM has featured an equally impressive field of competitors including three-time Olympic gold medal winner Kristin Armstrong; current race champion, Olympic gold medalist and world champion, Anna van der Breggen; Chloe Dygert, Olympic silver medalist, current UCI world time trial champion and six-time UCI gold medalist; and Coryn Rivera who in 2019, at age 26 holds 72 national titles.
About the Amgen Tour of California
The Amgen Tour of California and the Amgen Tour of California Women’s Race empowered with SRAM are Tour de France-style cycling road races created and presented by AEG. Running concurrently, the races challenge the world’s top professional cycling teams to compete along demanding courses that traverse hundreds of miles of California’s iconic highways, byways and coastlines each spring. The teams selected to participate have included Olympic medalists, Tour de France contenders and World Champions, and award important, world-ranking points to the top finishers. For more information visit the official race sites on Instagram, Facebook, Twitter, YouTube or www.amgentourofcalifornia.com.