(CelebrityAccess MediaWire) —
AEG is presenting the inaugural Amgen Tour of California in February 2006, a professional eight-stage cycling race modeled after the Tour de France. From February 19-26, 16 professional cycling teams from around the world will compete across 700 miles of scenic California roadway from San Francisco to Redondo Beach, in the UCI- and USA Cycling-sanctioned race. Tour sponsor Amgen, Inc,based in Thousand Oaks, CA, isthe world's leading biotechnology company. ESPN2 is the official broadcast partner.
Six world-class teams including Discovery Channel Pro Cycling Team (USA), Gerolsteiner (GER), Davitamon-Lotto (BEL) and Phonak Hearing Systems (SUI), Saunier Duval Prodir (ESP) and Credit Agricole (FRA) and the T-Mobile Team (GER) are the first professional teams confirmed to race in the Amgen Tour of California. In addition, two of the top professional cycling teams in North America, the Health Net Pro Cycling Team, presented by Maxxis, and the Navigators Insurance Pro Cycling Team, will compete in the race.
The race will travel through San Francisco, Sausalito, Santa Rosa, Martinez, San Jose, the Monterey Peninsula, San Luis Obispo, Santa Barbara and Thousand Oaks and finish at Redondo Beach. AEG estimates that more than one million spectators will line the route, with millions more tuning in to ESPN2 and other broadcasts daily to watch the event.
"We are proud to present the Amgen Tour of California. The event will celebrate not only the athleticism and grace of cycling but also the beauty of the state of California, which will be on display for everyone to see — both on television and in person along the route," said Timothy J. Leiweke, CEO & president, AEG. "The Amgen Tour of California will soon take its place among the sport's best, most respected races."
Amgen will institute a Breakaway from Cancer initiative — a complementary component to the race sponsorship. Through the Breakaway from Cancer effort, Amgen will partner with The Wellness Community, an international non-profit organization dedicated to providing support, education and hope for people affected by cancer, and Discovery Channel professional cycling team member and 10-time Tour de France veteran George Hincapie to raise awareness and funds to support valuable services and programs that help cancer patients and caregivers.
"This race will bring together some of the finest competitors in cycling on an unprecedented scale in California, and we are thrilled to help bring the excitement of international bicycle racing to the doorsteps of communities across the state," said Robert Colarossi, managing director of the Amgen Tour of California.
In addition to the core race, the Amgen Tour of California will extend the cycling experience to the communities it touches with a unique weeklong "rolling festival." Eight finish-line cities will offer health and wellness festival style expos including health screenings, information and entertainment. ESPN2 will serve as the official broadcast partner for the Amgen Tour of California, giving cycling fans an outlet to follow the action, with one dedicated hour of broadcast time on each race day. –Bob Grossweiner and Jane Cohen