The Amgen Tour of California, which has drawn professional cyclists from around the world and played a major role in Morgan Hill’s tourism promotions, will go on hiatus in 2020.
AEG Cycling, LLC, which puts on the event, made the announcement on Oct. 29.
“This has been a very difficult decision to make, but the business fundamentals of the Amgen Tour of California have changed since we launched the race 14 years ago,” Kristin Klein, president of the Amgen Tour of California and executive vice president of AEG Sports, stated. “While professional cycling globally continues to grow and we are very proud of the work we have done to increase the relevance of professional cycling, particularly in the United States, it has become more challenging each year to mount the race. This new reality has forced us to re-evaluate our options, and we are actively assessing every aspect of our event to determine if there is a business model that will allow us to successfully relaunch the race in 2021.”
The tour rolled its way into Morgan Hill the past two years. In May 2018, the city’s downtown was host to the tour’s time trial. The economic impact to the city was estimated at roughly $200,000, according to Morgan Hill Economic Development Director Edith Ramirez. The race booked about 40 hotel rooms, increasing transient occupancy tax by $86,000 compared to 2017.
That year brought a few thousand spectators, as well as more than 800 people who were part of the tour entourage and hundreds of volunteers.
In May 2019, Morgan Hill was home to the Stage 3 finish of the tour, where cyclists made the 129.2-mile trek from Stockton and wrapped up the day at the Morgan Hill Outdoor Sports Center on Condit Road. While economic impact numbers are not yet available, according to Ramirez, the event drew an estimated 2,000 people.
“We are sad and disappointed to see the Amgen Tour of California be put on hiatus,” Ramirez said. “This event aligns so well with the city’s sports recreation tourism efforts, and we were very happy we were considered two years in a row for the event.
“We wish AEG the best of luck as they explore how they can bring back the event.”
As a host city for the tour, Morgan Hill had a 30-second commercial aired on national television and a page on the official Amgen website, promoting the city and its businesses. The race was broadcast to more than 200 countries and territories by NBCSN and NBC Sports.
The recently formed Visit Morgan Hill, which is funded through hotel revenues, contributed $27,500 to the city to host the 2018 Amgen, and another $27,500 for the 2019 race.
While Morgan Hill was on the route for the last two years, it wasn’t guaranteed a spot had the 2020 event been firmly scheduled. Amgen officials typically announced the host cities for the following season toward the end of the calendar year, and those host sites varied year to year.
Ramirez said the city was in talks with the event’s organizers about a return to Morgan Hill in 2020 prior to Amgen’s announcement of a hiatus.
“We had hoped to be able to put another event together and be considered as a stage for 2020,” she said.
The Amgen Tour of California, which made its debut in 2006, features top international cyclists, many of which are Olympic medal winners and Tour de France participants.