The route of the 2013 Amgen Tour of California is set to be unveiled this month, but the funding for the bids from two cities, Bakersfield and Livermore, are up in the air due to the poor economy and controversies surrounding the sport.
According to the Mercury News, the city council of Livermore voted unanimously to withdraw its $100,000 of support for hosting the race, if it is selected by organisers AEG for the route.
The city is in such dire financial straights that it is struggling to maintain its police force and school crossing guards. It even had to rely on its own citizens to raise funds in order for the July 4th fireworks display.
"The council wants a partnership for all its events, much like the partnership we had for the Fourth of July event," assistant city manager Troy Brown told the Mercury News. "Livermore is coming through one of the most financially difficult times in recent history.
"Unless Amgen can come up with a solution that significantly reduces the expenses to the city, then the city will not host Amgen next year."
According to the report, the 2011 edition where Livermore hosted a stage start brought in $3,500 in taxes and $500,000 of revenue for local businesses. The race organisation and the city are still interested in holding part of the race in Livermore, but would need to strike a deal for funding.
"I believe there is a significant local and regional benefit for the Amgen Tour to come through," Mayor John Marchand said. "We're continuing to negotiate with Amgen. I believe that we can work with our community partners and sponsors to come to a solution."
Meanwhile, the bid by the city of Bakersfield is up in the air. Bakersfield hosted this year's time trial and had bid to host the race again, but according to The Californian, the city staff decided to drop the bid for the 2013 race after consulting with the Bakersfield Sports Foundation.
Part of the reason was that AEG has yet to inform host cities of their selection. In 2011, the race route announcement was made on November 3.
The newspaper quotes the president of the Bakersfield Sports Foundation, which raises the money to host the race, as being "gun shy" about the prospect, noting that the Lance Armstrong doping scandal could make fundraising difficult and lessen the impact the race would have.
At the same time, others are committed to supporting the bid should the city be chosen, and have the support of the Convention and Visitors Bureau, Kern Economic Development Corp. and Jay Rosenlieb, a Bakersfield attorney who volunteers with the foundation..
"The Amgen Tour of California is a premier cycling event. It's the largest and most prestigious cycling event in the United States," Rosenlieb said. "That's why we applied for 2013.
"We would not have made the bid unless we were serious about it."