Unclear if Armstrong Will be in Tour of Calif.

September 24, 2008 7:19:24 PM PDT
Lance Armstrong said: "My first race will be in Australia in the Tour Down Under." The big question now is whether the second stop on Lance Armstrong's comeback trail will be the Central Valley and the tour of California. The largest cycling event in the country will roll thru Merced, Clovis, and Visalia in mid-February as riders pedal 800 miles from Sacramento to Escondido. Clovis Economic Development Director Mike Dozier said: "If he comes t's just like adding Tiger Woods to your golf tournament it's just going to make it that much better."

Mike Dozier says adding a superstar like Armstrong to the Amgen tour of California should attract even more than the 50-thousand visitors expected to spend millions in city and the region. Dozier said: "I fully expect it's going to be in somewhere in the neighborhood of 40-thousand dollars in sales tax and hotel tax that equates to about 3-to-4 million dollars in stimulus to the economy." Sports Announcer said: "and here comes Lance Armstrong, all his rivals under his nose."

Clovis police captain Bob Keyes who's got an autographed Armstrong jersey hanging in his office is helping to organize the Merced to Clovis leg of the race. Keyes said: "It's kind of a symbol of cycling."

Keyes says those in charge of the Amgen tour will only say they have talked with Armstrong about riding in the Tour of California. But with or without cycling's biggest name, Keyes says the 100- mile or so leg of this race from Merced to Clovis will still feature some of the best names on two wheels. Keyes said: "It's likely to put us on the map nationally and internationally because we're going to get a lot of exposure because of this."

While the route from Merced to Clovis has not been finalized yet. Local organizers say the finish line for this leg of the race will be right here in Old Town Clovis.

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