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Amgen commits to continue as Tour of California sponsor

When the nation's biggest cycling race begins in Santa Rosa next spring, it still will be called the Amgen Tour of California.

Biotech giant Amgen has renewed its sponsorship for the eight-day, international event, signing a multiple-year deal as the bike race's title sponsor.

"Amgen continues to be, from day one year one, a tremendous partner for us," Michael Roth, spokesman for AEG Sports, owner and organizer of the tour, said Friday. "And this year's race on all counts was the best of all six."

Amgen Tour Of California, Stage 8

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The agreement details have not been released, but it is believed to be $3.6 million a year, similar to the sponsorship in the past.

The sponsorship agreement lapsed after this year's race, which was held in an unseasonable wintry May weather and for the first time did not go through Santa Rosa.

The city, however, will be the start for the race to be held next May and the community is held in high regard by AEG as an event participant, Roth said.

"One of my favorite memories is in Santa Rosa," Roth said. "That first race, coming into Santa Rosa on a holiday, we drive in and to see the amount of people there, on the parking structure, everywhere, and see the peloton come through .<th>.<th>. it was breathtaking."

The sponsorship is welcome news to Santa Rosa event organizers, who are trying to raise $500,500 for the starting stage and the festivities that will run from three days to a week.

In 2010, the last time Santa Rosa was a stop in the race, organizers were required by AEG to commit at least $175,000 to host what was the finish of the second day of racing.

Costs are higher for the event next May because Santa Rosa organizers are required to provide meals and lodging for teams and event staff for three days instead of one, plus such things as porta-potties, road services and garbage collection. Those costs are estimated to be $400,000.


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