Running a bike race in a deep, long running recession is a money losing proposition. Amgen Tour of California race organizer AEG said they’re losing $1 million to $2 million each year. Cities that host stage starts and finishes pay AEG for the privilege. This year, AEG increased their host city fees, which in turn seems to have resulted in a smaller pool of potential host cities.
For example, the city of Santa Cruz declined to bid for a stage for 2011 because of financial reasons, including the increased costs. Neighboring Capitola considered jumping into the game after Santa Cruz bowed out, but didn’t have time to put a bid together.
Even San Jose — a big supporter of the race and one of only two cities that has been involved in every Tour of California since the event began in 2006 — told race organizers they’re not interested in a race start this year. Midweek starts tend to have dismal attendance compared to race finishes.
Not everybody is backing out on hosting the Tour, of course. The Lake Tahoe Visitors Authority has proposed a Grand Depart from South Tahoe that encompasses the lake, ending at Northstar or Squaw Valley.