Thursday, December 07, 2006

Bikers Coming

It’s great to see them here, but too bad they aren’t going on the Parkway…maybe next year.

Cyclists coming to town
Sacramento will host the second stage of eight-day, 653-mile Tour of California
By Blair Anthony Robertson - Bee Staff WriterPublished 12:00 am PST Thursday, December 7, 2006

The Tour of California is coming to town in February, with some of the world's best pro cyclists roaring into -- and around -- town before crossing the finish line in front of the north steps of the Capitol.

Local officials announced Wednesday details of the Feb. 20 second stage of the eight-day, 653-mile road race.

The high-profile bike race will be one thing. But getting the streets closed and the crowds under control will be an undertaking all its own.

The 122-mile stage from Santa Rosa to the Capitol is expected to conclude about 2:30 p.m., not long before thousands of state workers end their day and head for home.

Officials expect streets will be closed no longer than 30 minutes. Everyone involved insists the headaches will be worth it.

Last year, the inaugural Amgen Tour of California was surprisingly successful, with all of the top American pros racing at the top of their form and an overall crowd estimated at 1.3 million lining the streets.

The only thing missing was Sacramento. Local officials lobbied early on to land a stage for 2007, hoping to showcase the city on an international stage, according to John McCasey, executive director of the Sacramento Sports Commission.