Confusion in Monterey over Tour of California stage

The Amgen Tour of California's Tuesday announcement revealing the 2014 edition's host cities apparently caught one of the municipalities included by surprise, according to a report published Tuesday.

The Monterey County Herald newspaper reported in its November 5 edition that the city government in Monterey, which is slated to host the stage 4 start on May 14, had not been contacted by race organizers and had no idea the coastal town would be included.

"We have not been contacted at all by anyone from [the tour] about this. ... This is the first that the city has heard of it," city spokeswoman Anne McGrath told Herald staff reporter Tommy Wright.

But Michael Roth, vice president of communications for race owner AEG, communicated to Cyclingnews via email on Thursday that race organizers had been working with the Monterey County Convention and Visitors Bureau throughout the process and had the agency's approval to proceed with Tuesday's announcement.

Roth told Cyclingnews by phone that it is not unusual for the race organizers to work with local organizing committees and tourism bureaus – rather than city governments – when selecting host cities.

"We will continue to speak with representatives of the Monterey County Convention and Visitors Bureau until they direct us otherwise," Roth added via his email statement.

Monterey previously hosted a stage of the Tour of California in 2006 when the race took place in February. The 2014 stage that is scheduled to start in Monterey next May will finish 100 miles to the south in the coastal town of Cambria.

John David Van Kirk, communications coordinator for the Monterey County Convention & Visitors Bureau, told the Herald he previously communicated to race organizers that Monterey "had no dollar amount or personnel that we could put towards [hosting the stage 4 start], and they basically came back saying that they are very interested in coming here and they would work with us and the city to cover the financial burden of it."

Roth told Cyclingnews via his statement that the race does not release any specifics about host city agreements.

Mike McCarthy, Monterey's assistant city manager, told the Herald in a follow-up report published on November 6 that the city is interested in hosting the stage.

The ninth edition of the race will return to a north-to-south route in 2014 after experimenting with a south-north configuration last year. Santa Rosa, host of 2013's final stage, opted out of hosting a stage next year. Other cities opting out of consideration for the 2014 race include Auburn, Livermore, Escondido and Carlsbad, according to the California-based website Tour fe France Life.

But Roth told Cyclingnews that the race has had no problem attracting host cities for next year's event.

"There are just as many cities as in years before," he said. "The cities that want us, want us badly. There were numerous cities, dozens of cities, that didn't get the race."

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Growing up in Missoula, Montana, Pat competed in his first bike race in 1985 at Flathead Lake. He studied English and journalism at the University of Oregon and has covered North American cycling extensively since 2009, as well as racing and teams in Europe and South America. Pat currently lives in the US outside of Portland, Oregon, with his imaginary dog Rusty.