The Amgen Tour of California — the only U.S. stop on cycling’s prestigious WorldTour circuit — has been placed on hiatus for 2020 and faces an uncertain future.
Since its debut in 2006, the multiple-day road race has featured top international cyclists traversing the state in an important lead up to the Tour de France. But its owner says the event has become increasingly problematic from a financial standpoint.
“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, the tour’s president and executive vice president for AEG Sports. “This new reality has forced us to reevaluate our options and we are actively assessing every aspect of our event to determine if there is a business model that will allow us to successfully relaunch the race in 2021.”
In recent years, the Tour of California has become known as a stepping stone for emerging talent. Egan Bernal, at 21, earned his first world-level victory in the 2018 race, then won the Tour de France the following year.
On the women’s side, a shorter competition has drawn Olympic and world champions such as Kristin Armstrong and Anna van der Breggen by offering equal prize money for its stage races.
Last year’s course for the men began in Long Beach and covered 645 miles over a span of seven days before finishing in Sacramento.
“I like racing as well as training in California,” German cyclist Marcel Kittel said before the start. “I can see the beach and do altitude training all in one place.”
USA Cycling said it would attempt to help revive the event, which it called “an outstanding showcase for the sport in America.”