Inaugural Amgen Tour of California Breaks Attendance Records
Professional Cycling Stage Race Gets High Marks from Cities, Athletes, Sponsors and Fans; LOS ANGELES, Calif., March 8, 2006 - The recently concluded Amgen Tour of California, an eight-day professional cycling road race, drew more than 1.3 million spectators from February 19-26, 2006, setting records in attendance for any single sporting event in California, as well as for any cycling event in the U.S. The inaugural event, which covered 600 miles of California roadway from San Francisco to Redondo Beach, received praise from its host cities, teams and sponsors, as well as from the Union Cycliste International (UCI), the international governing body of cycling.
2007 Planning Underway Following Successful First Year
In addition to the thousands of fans lining every stage of the race, the official Web site had 367,000 visitors who registered more than fifteen million "page views" over the eight days of racing, with the vast majority enjoying live race coverage provided by Adobe and enhanced by Google technology. A breakthrough in Internet race coverage, www.amgentourofcalifornia.com provided fans with live text updates, four channels of live streaming video and continuously updated still photos from the road. The site continues to be one of the sport's most viewed with fans logging on for race recaps, statistics and commemorative memorabilia.
California resident Floyd Landis (USA) of Phonak Hearing Systems walked away as the overall champion of the Amgen Tour of California with El Segundo-based CSC taking the overall team top prize. With preliminary details of the 2007 route expected in the next 30 to 60 days, race presenter AEG has reiterated its commitment to building the race into one of the premier sporting events in the world.
"We set out to create an event that will one day rival the Tour de France," said Timothy J. Leiweke, President and CEO of AEG. "We will not rest until we allow the American riders to have the best event in all of cycling in their home country. This year was a giant leap toward achieving that goal."
The 10 host cities for the inaugural race included San Francisco, Sausalito, Santa Rosa, Martinez, San Jose, Monterey, San Luis Obispo, Santa Barbara, Thousand Oaks and Redondo Beach. Cities throughout California are eager to host the second annual race.
"We're coming back in 2007 and already are thinking about ways to make this event even better," said Shawn Hunter, president of AEG Sports, presenters of the Amgen Tour of California. "We are extremely satisfied with this first year, and the best is yet to come."
"We built this race on three objectives: to create a great experience for riders, the communities and the corporate sponsors," said Bob Colarossi, managing director of the Amgen Tour of California. "The cities that we visited this year are very pleased with the positive effect that the race had on their communities. Not only have our 2006 host cities asked us back, but new cities have also inundated us with requests to come to their areas next year."
The world's best riders echoed the sentiment, expressing an overwhelmingly positive experience in California. "From the moment I heard about the Amgen Tour of California, I knew it would be of the highest quality," said Santa Rosa resident and California Travel and Tourism King of the Mountain competition winner Levi Leipheimer (USA) of Team Gerolsteiner. "I can say now that it was even better than expected," continued Leipheimer who won the race's Prologue held in San Francisco.
"It's very high up on the list. I think it was a great event," added overall fourth place finisher and winner of two stages George Hincapie (USA) of the Discovery Channel Professional Cycling Team and spokesperson for the Amgen Breakaway from CancerTM initiative. "It's a good indication that all of the foreign riders were happy with the event. It couldn't have gone any better."
When asked to compare the California race to those about to take place in Europe, overall second place finisher David Zabriskie (USA) of Team CSC said, "We're going to take a lot of warm clothes [to Europe] and wish this race was still happening."
The highest ranking officials from UCI and USA Cycling - the international and national governing bodies of the sport - were on hand in California to witness the race. Both Pat McQuaid, president of the UCI, and Gerard Bisceglia, president of USA Cycling, gave high praise to the inaugural event.
"It looks to be a good race. Not just good teams here, but the teams have brought good riders as well, and they're all motivated to do very well. From the UCI's point of view, it's good to see this in its first year," said McQuaid. "I have no doubt that the potential is here to grow and develop this race into a big, big spectacle in both the state of California and the United States."
Speaking about the importance of establishing races like the Amgen Tour of California for the overall development of American professional cycling, Bisceglia said, "The hardest thing for USA Cycling is having your children leave home. To let our riders grow up, we have to let them leave home and go to Europe. But if we can bring this kind of cycling to the U.S., we can keep our children at home."
To help ensure the success of the Amgen Tour of California, race presenter AEG partnered with like-minded companies who have an interest in growing the sport of cycling while communicating the importance of health and wellness to California communities.
In December 2005, the race's title sponsor Amgen launched the Breakaway from Cancer initiative. A partnership between Amgen, The Wellness Community and George Hincapie, Breakaway from Cancer is a complementary component of the race that includes a series of free workshops designed to help people who are affected by cancer learn about new treatments, side effects, support networks and educational resources.
"We are delighted with the inaugural Amgen Tour of California," said Kevin Sharer, Amgen's chairman and chief executive officer. "We are also pleased with the success of our Breakaway from Cancer initiative, which resulted in a donation of $1.1 million to The Wellness Community to support cancer patients. Amgen looks forward to our continuing sponsorship of this world class cycling event."
In addition to Amgen's partnership with AEG, eight companies joined as founding partners for the inaugural year: Adobe, ADT Security Services, California Travel and Tourism, Clif Bar, Health Net, Herbalife, KB Home and Union Bank of California. Coca-Cola Zero, Google, Kendall-Jackson, Prodir and Voler also supported the race as official partners.
"Our partners are as vital to the success of this event as the athletes and host cities," said Hunter. "Their belief in this race, support of our vision and commitment to ensuring that this event was a great experience for everyone involved made this one of the greatest first-year events that I have ever been a part of."
About AMGENAmgen discovers, develops and delivers innovative human therapeutics. A biotechnology pioneer since 1980, Amgen was one of the first companies to realize the new science's promise by bringing safe and effective medicines from lab, to manufacturing plant, to patient. Amgen therapeutics have changed the practice of medicine, helping millions of people around the world in the fight against cancer, kidney disease, rheumatoid arthritis, and other serious illnesses. With a broad and deep pipeline of potential new medicines, Amgen remains committed to advancing science to dramatically improve people's lives. To learn more about our pioneering science and our vital medicines, visit www.amgen.com.
About AEGAEG is one of the leading sports and entertainment presenters in the world. AEG, a wholly owned subsidiary of The Anschutz Corporation, owns or controls a collection of companies including facilities such as STAPLES Center, The Home Depot Center, The Manchester Evening News Arena and NOKIA Theatre Times Square; sports franchises including the Los Angeles Kings (NHL), five Major League Soccer franchises, two hockey franchises operated in Europe, management of privately held shares of the Los Angeles Lakers (NBA) and Los Angeles Sparks (WNBA), the Amgen Tour of California cycling road race, and the upcoming ING Bay to Breakers footrace taking place in San Francisco May 21st; AEG LIVE, the organization's live-entertainment division, is a collection of companies dedicated to all aspects of live contemporary music performance, touring and a variety of programming and multi-media production. Additionally, the company has begun fully developing the 28-acre Millennium Dome and adjacent property located in the eastern part of London along the Thames River and will create the O2, a new arena within the 'Dome' and additional arenas, on a 50-acre site in the heart of Berlin and Sprint Center in Kansas City, Missouri; stadiums in Bridgeview, Illinois and Harrison, New Jersey. For more information, visit AEG today at www.aegworldwide.com.