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    Blazing Bike Saddles: Amgen Tour of CA Has High Velocity Finish In LB

    (Feb. 25, 2007) -- Spectators converged at the Shoreline Dr./Linden Ave. start-finish line and were enthusiastic (albeit thinner) elsewhere for LB's climax to the 700 mile Amgen Bicycle Tour of California
    Amgen race Feb. 25/07
    Photo credit: Daniel deBoom

    The "Tour de France" styled "staged" (multi-day) race spanned over a week as it made its way from northern California to Long Beach.

    Amgen race Feb. 25/07
    Photo credit: Martin Arroyo
    Spectators gathered at the approach to the Belmont Shore gateway near Livingston Dr. to see the riders make multiple laps from downtown.

    The crowd cheered as the riders on made a U-turn to return to downtown LB.
    Amgen race Feb. 25/07
    Photo credit: Martin Arroyo

    Amgen race Feb. 25/07
    Photo credit: Daniel deBoom
    Spectators dotted Ocean Blvd. but were thin in some areas (mainly between Orange Ave. and about a quarter mile from Belmont Shore) where some gaps were visible.

    Crowds were thin in western parts of Shoreline Dr.; some bleachers west of the start/finish line were nearly empty...but the start/finish line area had a sizable crowd.
    Amgen race Feb. 25/07
    Photo credit: Daniel deBoom

    Spectators saw world-class competitors speed down Shoreline Dr. and Ocean Blvd. racing at automobile speeds. Along parts of Shoreline Dr., they appeared to be pedaling at well into the 30 mph range.

    The City of Long Beach, its downtown and shoreline areas, looked spectacular in aerial and mobile shots of the race telecast live on the Versus network. Banners announcing the Port of Long Beach, the City of Long Beach and the Long Beach Convention & Visitors Bureau were clearly visible.

    The telecast included at least one advertisement for the Long Beach Convention & Visitors Bureau which touted the benefits of Long Beach to viewers. The Versus network's web site says it's "in more than 70 million homes" via cable systems and satellite operators throughout the U.S.

    "Yeah, baby!" John Morris (Smooth's Sports Grille and LB Festival Chair) told about an hour after the race conclusion: "I think the exposure the City got was spectacular, fantastic. The benefits for this event for the City are incalculable and I think this event is just going to grow."

    Mr. Morris acknowledged that "there were some thin spots [in spectators] along parts of Ocean Blvd. but I think some LB residents didn't quite understand what this new race was all about."

    The Sunday race climax, which was free to spectators, had been given roughly a week of pre-race front page booster-style coverage by the Press-Telegram.

    As previously reported by, the Long Beach Convention & Visitors Bureau (which receives roughly 75% of its annual operating budget from roughly $4+ million of LB's now-roughly $16+ million hotel room taxes) committed in its event permit to pay roughly $94,000 for LB police and other city services to handle Saturday pre-race charity events and Sunday race day events. [For background on this, click here].

    This year was the first in which Long Beach was the finish for the two year-old cycling event. On the official race web site, race organizers quoted on Saturday, Feb. 24 were enthusiastic about the future.

    "Itís exciting, and people were curious how we would do in our sophomore year. The CHP told us today that point to point it was the biggest stage we've had in our two years...We love this sport. Itís not just one of Americaís biggest spectator sports but we hope to be one of the biggest in the world," said Shawn Hunter, President AEG Sports, Race Presenters.

    Pat McQuaid, President, Union Cyclist International (UCI), said "This race is bigger than it was last year. There are more people on the sidelines. The organization has gotten bigger. I'm very happy with the organizersí continued commitment to this event."

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