SANTA ROSA (KCBS)— Amgen will continue as the title sponsor of America’s biggest bicycle race. For the first time in its six-year history, The Amgen Tour of California will begin in Santa Rosa in May 2012, while other cities up and down the state are still competing to host one of the stages of the race.

Michael Roth with AEG Sports, which owns the event, said Amgen will remain the sponsor for the foreseeable future now that a multi-year contract has been signed.

KCBS’ Doug Sovern Reports:

A rare May blizzard ruined the Lake Tahoe start of this year’s race. In years past, the tour had begun in San Francisco, Sacramento and Sausalito.

Santa Rosa’s Economic Development Specialist, Raissa De La Rosa said Santa Rosa may host the entire first stage.

“This is huge. There’s a possibility of mounting back, so starting and finishing in Santa Rosa. Maybe doing a couple of loops,” she said with anticipation.

According to De La Rosa the race could generate $10 million for the city.

Roth said the remaining seven stages and their start and finish cities, will be announced this fall.

“We’re hoping to be back in San Francisco soon because of the iconic nature of the city and the warm hospitality of the race fans that we’ve found there every time we’ve gone through,” said Roth.

San Jose is the only city that’s been a part of all six tours so far.

(Copyright 2011 by CBS San Francisco. All Rights Reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.)


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