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The biggest American road race for men and women, the Amgen Tour of California, will not run in 2020.
Citing financial pressures, race organisers announced on Tuesday that the race would go “on hiatus” next season.
Thank you, fans. It’s been an amazing 14 years. “AEG, the world’s leading sports and live entertainment company, today announced that they will put the Amgen Tour of California race on hiatus for the 2020 racing season.” pic.twitter.com/56qlHkzYVJ
— AmgenTOC (@AmgenTOC) October 29, 2019
“This has been a very difficult decision to make, but the business fundamentals of the Amgen Tour of California have changed since we launched the race 14 years ago,” said Kristin Klein, president of the Amgen Tour of California and executive vice president of AEG Sports. “It has become more challenging each year to mount the race. This new reality has forced us to re-evaluate our options.”
Klein said AEG Sports is hopeful of bringing the race back in 2021, saying that the race owner was “actively assessing every aspect of our event to determine if there is a business model that will allow us to successfully relaunch.”
The men’s Tour of California began in 2006 as a UCI 2.1 event, but was elevated to a 2.HC ranking the following year. In 2010 it moved from its original February timeslot to May and has remained there since. In 2015 race organisers introduced a women’s event for the first time. That race was elevated to the Women’s WorldTour the following year.
In 2017 the men’s race was also elevated to WorldTour level, making the Amgen Tour of California the only U.S. race with WorldTour designation for both men and women.
Levi Leipheimer holds the record for the most overall wins of the men’s race, with three. Other former winners include Michael Rogers, Chris Horner, Tejay van Garderen, Bradley Wiggins, Peter Sagan, Julian Alaphilippe and Egan Bernal. This year’s edition was won by young Slovenian Tadej Pogacar.
Peter Sagan holds the record for the most stage wins at the race, with 17. He has raced the Tour of California every year of his career but last week announced that he would be racing the Giro d’Italia in 2020.
Anna van der Breggen leads the way in the women’s race with two overall wins from five editions, including this year’s race.
The Tour of California is just the latest American race to bow under the pressure of economic challenges. Other statewide stage races, such as the Tour de Georgia, Tour of Missouri, and the USA Pro Challenge (Colorado) have all come and gone in the years since California began, likewise the Philadelphia Cycling Classic.
Gutted to see @AmgenTOC shutting down, hard to see how a great race with such publicity and reach can fail to operate. Hopefully it’s just temporary.
— George Bennett? (@georgenbennett) October 29, 2019
Sad to see Tour of California go. It shows how hard the business of cycling is in the USA. We have almost had to close the doors a few times ourselves. I feel very lucky to be part of the longest running US professional cycling team in history. Gotta stay creative in this game.
— Jonathan Vaughters (@Vaughters) October 29, 2019