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San Diego loses bid for Tour of California stage

By:
Daniel Simms
Published:
October 22, 2009, 16:59 BST,
Updated:
October 22, 2009, 18:23 BST
Edition:
Second Edition Cycling News, Thursday, October 22, 2009
Race:
Amgen Tour of California
Fans cheer Andy Schleck and Jens Voigt atop Palomar Mountain in the 2009 Tour of California.

Fans cheer Andy Schleck and Jens Voigt atop Palomar Mountain in the 2009 Tour of California.

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Planned stage from Oceanside cut with shortened Tour

San Diego county proved to be one of the most popular places for spectators to take in the Tour of California when the race passed over Palomar Mountain and ended in Escondido last year, but the race will not make it to the state's southernmost county in 2010.

Fans packed the top of Palomar Mountain this February, but will have to head north to see the closest stage in 2010. The race route, announced Thursday, goes only as far south as Los Angeles.

The North County Times reported that the economic recession was a factor in the race being shortened to eight days, down from nine in 2009. The missing day meant the race could not visit San Diego.

"Logistically, it was a stretch for them to come to San Diego County with the race one day shorter," said Cami Mattson, chief executive of the San Diego North Convention & Visitors Bureau. "They also made a commitment to be in L.A. Saturday night, so it would be hard for them to finish in San Diego (County) on Sunday."

The newspaper reported that the region had pitched a new route that omitted Palomar Mountain, beginning in Oceanside and ending in Escondido. The towns had committed $250,000 to the race so far.

Despite the bid being rejected, the county hopes to see the race return in the future when it expands.

"We don't see this as the end, we see it as working toward next year," said Mattson. "It's just a matter of time before they come back. Our goal will be to keep the local enthusiasm and momentum going."

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