Mariposa County fights for the AMGEN finish line

MARIPOSA, Calif.

Hundreds of the world's top cyclists flew through Mariposa during the 2009 AMGEN Tour of California.

Kevin Cann, Mariposa Co. Supervisor said, "They came through and it was a major event we all lined the streets and zoom, they came through, 'that was Lance Armstrong!'"

But county officials would like the cyclists to stay awhile in the spring of 2012. Mariposa's tourism director felt the community had a good chance of hosting a finish line if Yosemite agreed to serve as a starting point for the next stage of the race the following day. But late last week the national park announced it could not be involved because of policy concerns.

Kevin Cann said, "AMGEN is certainly doing a re-tooling at the final hour, and we think there's still a chance we may be an end point. And we're still willing to talk to them about that. We've heard at a minimum they will come through. They want to do this foothills run."

The county had hoped to host a huge festival at the fairgrounds to celebrate the end of the stage. But that won't happen if the cyclists only pass through.

Hotel rooms would also miss out on hundreds of racers and support staff staying overnight. But restaurant owner Holly Ericson says she saw a big boost two years ago just from fans passing through. "It helps us tremendously. It's a really good impact on the area, a lot of new customers."

And residents say the race alone is great exposure for the community, which revolves around tourism.

Ross Reynolds said, "It's good for the local economy and cycling in the area to have more professionals ride around here."

Mariposa won't have to wait much longer to learn its role in the race. AMGEN expects to release the official route within the next two weeks.

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