Levi Leipheimer riding for Astana climbs Palomar Mountain during Stage 8 enroute to his overall victory in the AMGEN Tour of California on February 22, 2009 in Escondido.
The popular race, which drew an estimated 300,000 people to Escondido, Palomar Mountain and Rancho Bernardo, will not be returning to San Diego County next year.
The 96.8-mile final stage of the fourth annual Amgen Tour of California sent riders, including U.S. cycling legend Lance Armstrong up a gut-busting 6,140 feet to the top of the picturesque snowcapped Palomar Mountain.
It was the race's first appearance in San Diego County. According to the North County Times, the recession has forced organizers to cut the race from nine days to eight. Cami Mattson, chief executive of the San Diego North Convention & Visitors Bureau, told the paper that tour officials have said they are open to returning to San Diego County in the future.
Amgen was expected to announce the course Thursday which will reportedly include a finish in Los Angeles.
"We don't see this as the end, we see it as working toward next year," said Mattson, who played a key role in luring the tour south last year. "It's just a matter of time before they come back. Our goal will be to keep the local enthusiasm and momentum going."
Learn more about what was pitched to Amgen organizers in the full article in the North County Times.