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.
The event includes a 103-mile ride over King Ridge Road in Cazadero, a 65-mile medio ride through Occidental and a 35-mile piccolo ride. Riders leave the Finley Center in Santa Rosa at 8 a.m. on Oct. 9.
The event has attracted 6,000 riders, of which 4,500 are from outside of Sonoma County and many from other states.
It also packs a bit of Hollywood star power, as Patrick Dempsey, who plays Dr. Derek "McDreamy" Shepherd on the television hit "Grey's Anatomy," will don a kit and ride in the event.
Dempsey, an avid cyclist, hosts his own annual charity bike ride to benefit the Patrick Dempsey Center for Cancer, Hope and Healing in Maine. Leipheimer is expected to participate in that event on Saturday.
Montgomery and Fort Ross schools are receiving $4,000 each and El Molino High School's sports program is receiving $7,000 from the ride, while the Cazadero, Fort Ross, Occidental and Monte Rio volunteer fire departments are each receiving $1,500.
The Cazadero Community Services District is also receiving $4,000.
There will also be $10,000 for signs on King Ridge and other Sonoma County roads that will urge cyclists to ride single-file and share the road and warn about sharp turns.
Fisher said that there will also be $5,000 for road repairs on King Ridge by Sonoma County crews.
The Lance Armstrong Foundation, Livestrong, which benefits cancer research, is receiving $15,000.
A nascent move by some cyclists to build a velodrome for bicycle track racing at A Place to Play in Santa Rosa is being given $10,000.