Will the tour return to Santa Rosa?

  • Stage 1 tour leader Mark Cavendish, in the gold jersey and the rest of the Tour of California competitors ride through the streets of Davis Monday May 17, 2010 during the second stage to Santa Rosa (Kent Porter / Press Democrat) 2010

The route of the Tour of California and whether it will include Santa Rosa for a sixth consecutive year will be announced next week and members of Sonoma County's organizing committee said Wednesday they like their chances.

"We have been in positive discussions with them, we have been talking to them," said Raissa de la Rosa, Santa Rosa economic development specialist.

AEG, the Los Angeles-based sports company that owns the tour, said it is in final discussions with the cities that will be involved and will make an announcement on Thursday, Oct. 7.

"We are just about finalized, most cities are done, there are one or two things we are massaging," said AEG spokesman Michael Roth. "Every year we try to make it more challenging, bring in a few more cities to expose it to more fans, to highlight California's scenery to a national and international audience."

About whether Santa Rosa would be included again, Roth would only say, "We have always had a great time in your city."

Andrew Messick, AEG president, is also expected to attend a benefit dinner next Thursday at St. Francis Winery in Kenwood as part of the Levi Leipheimer King Ridge GranFondo.

Santa Rosa's organizing committee is receiving $65,000 toward the cost of staging the event from the granfondo, the Oct. 9 ride that has attracted 6,000 riders.

It is the largest part of $117,000 in proceeds from the granfondo that will benefit several West County schools and fire departments and Sonoma County bicycling-related programs.

The first of the donations are being made Thursday and Friday by professional racer Leipheimer, a Santa Rosa resident.

Leipheimer is also president of the newly formed VeloStreet Inc., a non-profit that has been established as the owner of the King Ridge GranFondo, said Greg Fisher, VeloStreet secretary.

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