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Santa Rosa to vie for Amgen Tour of California

Santa Rosa hopes to continue its involvement with the Amgen Tour of California next year, possibly as host for the eighth and final stage of the professional bicycle race.

City officials plan to formally submit a hosting bid by Friday's deadline to AEG Sports of Los Angeles, owner of the tour, which has visited Santa Rosa six times since it started in 2006.

"We're kind of old pros at it," said Raissa de la Rosa, the city's economic development specialist who spearheads the local organizing effort.

2012: Tour Of California Ends

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Despite a lengthy relationship with the event, which drew a crowd of 40,000 to downtown Santa Rosa in May, there is "no guarantee" the city will be part of the 2013 tour, de la Rosa said.

Meanwhile, Escondido in northern San Diego County is seeking to host the tour's starting event on May 12, moving the eight-day race from south to north for the first time.

Escondido, a city of 168,800 residents, enjoyed a large crowd and an economic boost from hosting the tour's final stage in 2009, said Michelle Geller, a management analyst for the city.

The Escondido City Council agreed last week to spend up to $475,000 to host next year's start.

San Diego County, like Sonoma County, has become a popular cycling area, with scenic routes from Escondido to the coast and the challenge of 6,142-foot Palomar Mountain, capped by the Palomar Observatory.

Santa Rosa city staffers approved the idea of bidding for the final stage of the 2013 tour next May 19 without making any financial commitment, de la Rosa said.

"It doesn't bind us to anything," she said.


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