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    News

    Major Bicycle Race Finale Coming To LB Feb. 24-25; Downtown Businesses Plan Two-Day Olympic-Style Festival Events To Draw Crowds, Benefit Local Charities


    (Feb. 2, 2007) -- A "Tour De France" style bicycle event is coming to Long Beach in just weeks...and downtown business leaders and city officials have a two-day downtown festival planned that they hope will draw large crowds and help 14 LB-area charities.

    At a Feb. 1 press event in the shadow of a giant banner hung above Pine Ave., downtown business leader John Morris (Smooths), ICB Bank president Jane Netherton and LB Mayor Bob Foster announced the "Party with a Purpose on Pine" February 24-25.

    Photo credit: Daniel deBoom


    Photo credit: Daniel deBoom
    Mr. Morris told LBReport.com, "I think this event could ultimately become bigger than the [LB] Grand Prix." He serves as the LB Festival Commitee's Chair; Jane Netherton, Chairs the LB Local Organizing Committee.

    The event will feature multiple activities to coincide with the LB grand finale to the eight-day, 2007 AMGEN Tour of California professional bicycle stage race, a race that begins in San Francisco on February 18, with world-class teams pedaling a roughly 650 mile route from northern California to a grand finale in Long Beach (a change from Redondo Beach in 2006, the race's first year).

    Organizers say the race features professional cycling teams from around the world competing for the highest prize purse of any cycling race in North America" and will include Tour de France competitors, world champions and Olympic medalists including LB native Tony Cruz.

    LB's Convention & Visitors Bureau says that in its first year, the 2006 Amgen Tour of California drew more than 1.3 million spectators statewide, "setting records in attendance for any single sporting event in California, as well as for any cycling event in the U.S." and had an "estimated $100 million economic impact on the participating host cities throughout the course of the race."

    LBCVB says this year's second annual running of the event "is expected to surpass last year's attendance numbers" and the LB finale to the race will include a free Bike and Family Festival on Saturday, Feb. 24 (11 a.m. to 3 p.m.) with activities such as a BMX/stunt riders expo and demonstrations, "Fastest Wrench" competition and bicycle safety checks, live entertainment and a helmet decoration station. That evening, an "Art in Motion" Art Walk will be held in the city’s East Village Arts District with a "Party with a Purpose on Pine" in downtown Long Beach. On Sunday, Feb. 25, the Amgen Lifestyle Family Festival will take place in the LB Arena parking lot from 11 a.m. to 4 p.m.

    Pre-race charity events begin this Saturday with an anti-cancer stationary-bike fundraiser at the Naples/Belmont Shore branch of Union Bank (Feb. 3, 10 a.m.-1 p.m., details below) and other events in the period leading up to the race finale (additional info below).

    Mr. Morris said Feb. 24-25 downtown event will have an Olympic-style feel with gated entry and multiple events for LB visitors and residents. A schedule provided by LBCVB indicates:

    Saturday, February 24, 2007
    Location: Long Beach Arena Parking Lot

    • Radical BMX & Skateboard Demos
    • Fastest Wrench in the West Competition by www.parktool.com
    • Flatlanders Trick Bike Demos by Orange 20 Bikes
    • Helmet Decoration Station
    • 24 Hour Fitness “Take a Spin” Bike Race
    • New Bicycle Model “Test Drives”
    • Bicycle Safety Checks & Licensing by LBFD
    • JAX Bicycle Center & other retailers
    • Family Fun & interactive Activities
    • LBUSD Contest Winner Awards
    • Live Entertainment

    EAST VILLAGE ASSOCIATION “ART IN MOTION” ART WALK 4 – 9PM
    Location: East Village Arts District

    • Tricycle Race 5-7 PM
    • Art Galleries & Food Vendors
    • Rides & Entertainment

    PARTY WITH A PURPOSE ON PINE AVENUE 6 – 11PM
    Location: Pine Avenue

    • International Cycling Village on Pine
    • Special dinner packages at a variety of restaurants
    • Ticketed live Entertainment event
    • Cycling themed food and & drinks
    • Special guests & athletes to appear

    Sunday, February 25, 2007
    All Events Located in the Long Beach Arena Parking Lot

    LONG BEACH SHORELINE CIRCUIT RACE 9AM

    • Prelude to AMGEN TOC- Shoreline Drive
    • Elite I, II, Category III & Masters 30+
    • Open for Women in any like category
    • Fee to Register on www.active.com

    AMGEN LIFESTYLE FAMILY FESTIVAL BY HEALTHNET 11AM-4PM

    • Shimano Kid’s Challenge Course
    • Health & Fitness Expo
    • BMX & Stunt Riders Demos
    • Great bargains on gear, gadgets, and more
    • Give Away from Tour sponsors

    AMGEN TOUR OF CALIFORNIA CIRCUIT RACE 1PM

    • Shoreline Drive & Ocean Boulevard
    • 16 International Teams
    • Come cheer on your favorites

    The race event website says the Long Beach leg of the tour is "flat, fast, and will be a favorite with spectators, featuring a lot of sprint action as the cyclists race in 10 laps around a downtown and beach/bluff area course.


    Map image source: LBCVB

    Organizers note that the course is part of the LB Grand Prix course used for the CART race cars, meaning a legacy of roads that are wide and fast.  Views of San Pedro Bay and the Pacific Ocean will be visible for the entire course, with a backdrop of the famed Queen Mary in the bay.  Organizers expect a hard sprint to the finish; as with all the Grand Tours of Europe, winning the final stage of the 2007."

    The cycling event's website (www.amgentourofcalifornia.com) states in part, "Long Beach will host the grand finale of the eight-stage race beginning at 1 p.m. on Sunday, Feb. 25. Sponsored by Amgen, the final stage includes part of the famous Long Beach Grand Prix course used for CART race cars, meaning a legacy of roads that are wide and fast. Views of San Pedro Bay and the Pacific Ocean will be visible for the entire course, with a backdrop of the famed Queen Mary in the bay," the event website says.

    The AMGEN event website includes a link titled "Long Beach -- The Perfect Urban Waterfront Playground," which states in part, "Long Beach is a premier tourism destination with a downtown waterfront entertainment district that sets the standard for 'walk-ability.' With hotels, shopping, attractions, entertainment and restaurants all located on a picturesque harbor on the beautiful Pacific Ocean, Long Beach is the best of Southern California -- the perfect urban waterfront playground."

    The page includes a quote from Mayor Bob Foster: "Long Beach is honored to be selected as the host city for the overall finish of the Amgen Tour of California. We're proud to add this major sporting event to our city's rich and successful sports' legacy. The Tour's competitors are guaranteed to receive a spirited welcome from our residents and business community, and particularly from the thousands of biking enthusiasts living in and around our great city. We'll be looking forward to this exciting race!"

    A hyperlink on the page links to www.visitlongbeach.com, the website of the LB Area Convention & Visitors Bureau.

    The tour's title sponsor, AMGEN, is a biotechnology firm...and says the tour will raise funds for cancer care and treatment.

    Pre-race Anti-Cancer Charity Fundraiser Scheduled For Naples/Belmont Shore Feb. 3, 10a-1p

    Pre-race charity fundraising events begin Saturday, Feb. 3 with "PedalFest 2007", where LB residents can use their pedal power on stationary bikes to support the fight against cancer...with miles pedaled earning matched dollars for Amgen’s Breakaway from Cancer initiative at the Naples/Belmont Shore branch of Union Bank, 5430 2nd St., on Feb. 3 from 10 a.m. to 1:00 p.m.

    LB residents are invited to come by and "pedal their way" to raise money and awareness aboard stationary bikes. Among those scheduled to participate will be seven-time National Elite Champion, five-time Junior National Champion and three-time Collegiate All-American Bobby Lea of Toyota-United Pro Cycling Team.

    For a five dollar minimum donation, individuals are invited to ride a stationary bike for five minutes. Union Bank of California, AEG and the Amgen Tour of California will each donate one dollar for every mile ridden that day to support Breakaway from Cancer, a complementary component to AMGEN's sponsorship of the Tour of California. The firm says in a release that "Breakaway from Cancer continues to raise awareness and funds to support valuable services and programs, provided free of charge, that help people living with cancer." Information is at www.breakawayfromcancer.com.

    "Cancer touches not only the person who is sick, but also their entire network of family and friends," said Ellen Stovall, president and CEO, National Coalition for Cancer Survivorship. "The goal of Breakaway from Cancer is to provide resources and support to cancer survivors and their caregivers, so they have the knowledge they need to effectively manage and navigate the disease."

    "We believe that it is important to contribute to the well-being of our community, and hope that others will join us in support of this important cause," said Senior Vice President George Ramirez, who is in charge of Union Bank’s branches in Southern California.

    "The support The Wellness Community and the National Coalition for Cancer Survivorship receive from the Breakaway from Cancer initiative allows us to continue the services we offer patients and their loved ones," said Kim Thiboldeaux, president and CEO of The Wellness Community.


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