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View Poll Results: What is the future of the Tour of California?
The ToC will always be an early season training race, and will not grow in stature. 4 6.25%
The ToC will always be an early season training race, but grow in stature -- next year, top riders who sat out ToC (such as Boonen, Petacchi, Boogerd, Basso, Ullrich) will be there. 33 51.56%
The UCI ProTour and Grand Tours have split. The UCI, seeing the big crowds in Calif., will develop the ToC as a competing product to the GT's, and run the ToC in summer or early fall to feature climbs in California's great mountain passes.. 7 10.94%
The UCI/GT spat will be resolved and the ToC will morph into a 4th Grand Tour, moving to summer or early fall, to feature climbs in California's great mountain passes. 5 7.81%
Once AEG's 5-year contract expires, the ToC will collapse and fade away. 15 23.44%
Voters: 64. You may not vote on this poll

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Old 02-26-06, 01:18 PM   #1
JamesV
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Poll: Future of Tour of California?

The 1st running of the Tour of California appears to be a success, drawing heavy crowds, ProTour teams and great interest. Some things need improvement, particularly the television coverage (oh, how I longed for ESPN-HD or HDNET when the riders were coming down the coast -- can you imagine how beautiful that would be in Hi-Def TV?).

So, where does the Tour go from here?
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Old 02-26-06, 10:14 PM   #2
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(oh, how I longed for ESPN-HD or HDNET when the riders were coming down the coast -- can you imagine how beautiful that would be in Hi-Def TV?).
Meeeee toooooo.
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Old 02-26-06, 10:25 PM   #3
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The tours here require sponsors who need to be willing to pony up a LOT of cash. Hopefully the state of California sees the positives of the television coverage, perhaps some tourism and other benefits of having the race, and not just the negatives of congested traffic, etc. I believe that #1) AMGEN must see some benefit from their sponsorship to omake it worthwhile (which might be difficult considering how sponsorship for races and even the proteams change constantly) and #2) the state of california must see some positive benefit where some tax dollars can be diverted to help fund this event. If that is the case, then after 3 years, this might be as important as the Amstel Gold for instance. For USA pro cycling, I hope that it works out.

PS. As much as I could hope it would be so, ToC wouldn't become as large as any of the grand tours...now how about a tour of the southwest (CA, NV, AZ, UT) as a Grand tour? I would think it more likely (Though still darn near impossible).
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Old 02-26-06, 10:26 PM   #4
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Give it a few years and see what kinda names are attracted to it, and see how popular it becomes. Hard to say at this point in time. Maybe OLN will cover it next year .
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Old 02-26-06, 10:30 PM   #5
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Originally Posted by RockyMtnMerlin
Meeeee toooooo.
... and the Tour de France in HDTV as well. Please, satellite and cable gods, please. And Paris-Roubaix. I want to see mud splashed faces in full detail.
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Old 02-26-06, 10:52 PM   #6
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Originally Posted by DrWJODonnell
The tours here require sponsors who need to be willing to pony up a LOT of cash.

PS. As much as I could hope it would be so, ToC wouldn't become as large as any of the grand tours...now how about a tour of the southwest (CA, NV, AZ, UT) as a Grand tour? I would think it more likely (Though still darn near impossible).
Sure. Much like the TdF crosses over and visits Belgium, Germany, Great Britain, etc.

I think the current ToC format is very limiting (not enough climbing) and the calendar positioning is poor. The ToC was blessed with unusually benign weather -- it's rare to have a whole week of sun in February. If the ToC is going to be more like a GT, it's going to have to move to the warmer months when the mountain passes of the Sierra open up. Otherwise there can't be much variety in the stages.

I'm speculating, but I wonder if there are bigger plans for the ToC. UCI President Pat McQuaid was out here in Calif to observe for a reason, and notice how the ProTour sent top teams to make sure the inaugural race was much more than a regional RR. McQuaid's been quoted as saying the UCI very much wants to "globalize" bicycle racing.

It'll be interesting to see how the ToC evolves over the next 4 years.
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Old 02-26-06, 11:01 PM   #7
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Sadly I think it will follow the same fate as SF Grand Prix.
Interesting piece of trivia. Intel which headquarters are in Santa Clara sponsors a polish cycling team. http://www.actionteam.pl/en/home/ They also have facilities like showers, and fenced of bike parking area, that makes commuting much easier. But they are not sponsoring any U.S. based cycling events as far as I know.
I think this demonstrates that most companies that do business in the U.S. don't believe that sponsoring a cycling event is a good investment.
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Old 02-27-06, 07:59 AM   #8
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Tour Du Pont anyone? I give it six years max. It comes at a bad time in the year. Het Volk and KBK are tough to ignore. Make it a bit earlier in the year and hope that top riders will want to ride it as early season training. Or you try to squeeze it in sometime in June.

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Old 02-27-06, 09:58 AM   #9
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Originally Posted by JamesV
Sure. Much like the TdF crosses over and visits Belgium, Germany, Great Britain, etc.

I think the current ToC format is very limiting (not enough climbing) and the calendar positioning is poor. The ToC was blessed with unusually benign weather -- it's rare to have a whole week of sun in February. If the ToC is going to be more like a GT, it's going to have to move to the warmer months when the mountain passes of the Sierra open up. Otherwise there can't be much variety in the stages.
There are plenty of gnarly mountain passes in the San Gabriels and San Bernardinos that are open this time of year. They don't have quite the high altitude of the Sierras, but if you want some good climbs they're certainly available, along with some nice places for mountaintop finishes (Mt. Wilson, Mt. Baldy are two that I ride regularly). Those two even have multiple approaches except for the last 5 mile stretch, so you can run service vehicles up one route and the race up another. They're nicer this time of year than in the summer, when it gets *hot*.

Not only did they send top teams, they had their top US riders leading them in order to be more attractive to the local crowds. It's partly a result of having a large number of top US racers develop over the past 10 years-- In Lemond or early Armstrong days it would have been hard to have this many top teams led credibly by US riders.
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Old 02-27-06, 02:36 PM   #10
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I don't think there will ever be a grand tour in America, But I'm sure this will expand in the next few years. California is a hot-bed of cycling, and there is proably no where else in the US you would get so many spectators out. If UCI wants to increase their global exposure, then California is the place to do it. A tour of the whole west coast would be super cool, but I don't think the big pro teams would be down for anymore than an 8 day race. That being said, I'd love to see it cover a bit more of California.
I'd love to see it make it all the way down to San Diego next time, and I'm sure there are plenty of places in the Serra-Nevada foothills that would be great for a race, as long as the snow level stays above 2000feet. I know Horner used to train in the Auburn-Foresthill area. (45 minutes east of Sacramento) I get wet imagining the peleton going across the foresthill bridge
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Old 02-27-06, 09:25 PM   #11
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Originally Posted by UmneyDurak
I think this demonstrates that most companies that do business in the U.S. don't believe that sponsoring a cycling event is a good investment.
Yes, and currently they are correct. There's little or no television or newspaper exposure. But it can change, if the first steps are taken. Go back a few decades when NASCAR sought to export its product out of the South and into the North and West. It took money and time but ultimately they succeeded. Pundits back then said NASCAR could not succeed on the west coast. They were wrong.

At U.S. cycling races it's funny seeing jerseys advertising products we in the U.S. can't buy. No one here can buy Phonak, Gerolsteiner, Davitamon-Lotto, or Saunier-Duval products or services. If bike racing can attract enough millions of eyeballs every year, then you might see Burger King, Target and Starbucks wanting to buy that jersey advertising space. I agree with UCSDbikeAnarchy, if it's gonna happen, California is the place to do it (along with Oregon and Washington too).
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Old 02-27-06, 11:24 PM   #12
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If bike racing can attract enough millions of eyeballs every year, then you might see ...Starbucks wanting to buy that jersey advertising space.
I'm kind of surprised they didn't manage to round up a coffee sponsor. Coffee seems to be the beer of cycling.
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Old 02-28-06, 04:28 AM   #13
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Originally Posted by JamesV
The 1st running of the Tour of California appears to be a success...
This was not the first "Tour of California". There was a tour of the same name in the 1970s (or was it the 1960s?). I think that one lasted just one year and was run mostly in the area surrounding the SF Bay Area, north and east bay and into the Sierra foothills. I don't remember the details - I read about it last year in a American bicycle history book that I checked out from the library. It sounded like an adventurous race in part because the organization not at a high level (they had to improvise/think fast to get around not having an ok by the highway patrol in one of the counties that they passed through...). If anyone is interested, I can check the book out again (yes, not everything is on the www), or check your local library. I think the book is called "The American Bicycle".
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Old 02-28-06, 05:59 AM   #14
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Originally Posted by JamesV
Yes, and currently they are correct. There's little or no television or newspaper exposure. But it can change, if the first steps are taken. Go back a few decades when NASCAR sought to export its product out of the South and into the North and West. It took money and time but ultimately they succeeded. Pundits back then said NASCAR could not succeed on the west coast. They were wrong.

At U.S. cycling races it's funny seeing jerseys advertising products we in the U.S. can't buy. No one here can buy Phonak, Gerolsteiner, Davitamon-Lotto, or Saunier-Duval products or services. If bike racing can attract enough millions of eyeballs every year, then you might see Burger King, Target and Starbucks wanting to buy that jersey advertising space. I agree with UCSDbikeAnarchy, if it's gonna happen, California is the place to do it (along with Oregon and Washington too).
Remember the glory days of 7-11? Why did they get out of cycling sponsorship?

7-11 stores are still profitable after all of these years!

Nice to see Toyota and Franki Andreu get into the pic. They have to be please with those two stage wins!
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Old 03-01-06, 08:26 AM   #15
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At U.S. cycling races it's funny seeing jerseys advertising products we in the U.S. can't buy.
I'm pretty sure that you can get Gerolsteiner at whole foods, nestled in there between the San Peligrino and the Evian, but I might have it confused since I've been living in europe for the last 7 months. I recently read that the Whole foods 365 brand water is bottled in Roseville, CA (just east of Sacramento, kinda at the base of the Sierra Nevadas). Anyways, I grew up there, so its kinda funy to think of my water being sold all over the country.

Back on topic (kind of) I've always thouhgt it was usper funny that USPS sponsered a team. There is no way in europeans would ever need to us the us postal service.

Is Amgen or CSC really benefit much from their sponsership? If I need cancer drugs, I don't shop based on brand name.Frankly I don't care too much who sponsers it, just as long as the race keeps happening. One excpetion: Sierra Nevada. I Heard they were giving away free beer in the VIP tent, and I was raised on SNPA. SN's sponspership of cycling, along with my nor-cal pride, always encourages me to keep my fridge stocked with their wonderful beer.
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