I’m reminded this morning of the Santa Rosa (California) Riots of 2010, when hometown cycling hero Levi Leipheimer lost to Michael Rogers at last year’s Amgen Tour of California.
Levi was the defending champion, but finished last year’s stage race in 3rd place for the GC behind David Zabriskie and Rogers. Outraged fans in the Sonoma Valley city of Santa Rosa reacted by hurling bottles of Chardonnay and Cabernet Sauvignon at the large screen TVs mounted in tasting rooms throughout town. Before long, rioters broke into downtown coffee shops to steal bags of organic single source coffee, roasting the beans in destructive bonfires. Mack Murphy’s trailer full of gear for his West Coast Goldsprints was stolen that night. Part of Mack’s gear was eventually found in community art projects in Bodega Bay and Arcata.
Santa Rosa Mayor Susan Gorin and police chief Tom Schwedhelm blamed “outside elements” from Healdsburg and Calistoga on the mayehem. “We’re ashamed of the few locals who took part in these riots,” they said in a press release following the riots, “but the vast majority were outsiders coming to make trouble. Visitors are welcome to visit Santa Rosa but we really prefer you enjoy yourselves safely and lawfully. Thankfully, the rioters destroyed a number of buildings with a ‘historic’ designation in Railroad Square, and we received $9.4 million in state emergency funds to replace those old, decrepit structures with something classier and modern.”
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