SANTA BARBARA, Calif. - The AMGEN Tour of California race route will go through the tri-counties in May, and it's expected to be a big economic boost. Santa Barbara stands to gain the most, when the race stops over for the night on the fourth stage of the bike competition that will feature the best riders in the world.
This year, the route will go from south to north for the first time.
But local leaders say no matter which direction the race goes, their economic benefits will likely go "up".
"Having this before Memorial Day in the middle of the week, is a huge economic boon for the city," said Mayor Helene Schneider. "It will also (worldwide) get people thinking about where to take their vacation. Maybe Santa Barbara is the place to go."
The Conference and Visitors Bureau says hundreds of hotel rooms will be booked for the racers, their teams, and fans. President Kathy Janega-Dykes says, "The public relations value of this race alone is just enormous." She also says Santa Barbara is a welcoming city for bike riders of all levels. "It's an important activity that our visitors enjoy traveling to Santa Barbara for."
The Fess Parker Doubletree Hotel will be the host location for the riders, and activities when the race ends Stage 4 along the scenic waterfront. A large block of rooms will be set aside for the AMGEN racers, and officials. Other hotels in the area are also gearing up. "Everybody benefits and the rest are going to benefit and there are folks that follow this as a hobby," said General Manager Beth Olsen about the demand for rooms.
Along with race activities on Cabrillo Boulevard, there will be a large expo nearby. "It will be probably over 40 exhibitors and some of those will be national cycling, sports companies, and some will be health and fitness oriented," said local organizer Barney Berglund.
There will also be a need for local volunteers to work intersections, and parade locations during the race. "We're hopeful that we can get the people we need and make the route safe for the riders and local residents," said Berglund.
For more information click here: www.AmgenTourofCalifornia.com