Palo Alto could host a key part of the Tour of California bicycle race and be the center of the cycling world for a day if the City Council approves a letter of intent tonight.
Mayor Yoriko Kishimoto and councilmen Bern Beecham and John Barton will ask fellow council members to lend support to a bid at hosting part of the bicycle race with Stanford.
The city hopes to host the race prologue, where each cyclist individually rides an approximate three-mile time trial. This part of the competition is considered crowd friendly, giving spectators a chance to see each rider and not just a blur of Spandex as the peloton flies by. The prologue is scheduled for Feb. 17, 2008.
Kishimoto, Beecham and Barton stated in a memo to the full council that bringing the first world-class cycling event of the year to Palo Alto would bring business and international visibility to the city and Stanford University.
If the letter is approved at tonight's meeting and Palo Alto is selected as the site of the prologue, the announcement would come in July during cycling's premiere event, the Tour de France, and would be widely promoted by the event's promoters, AEG, a sports-entertainment company.
Costs for the event have been estimated to be between $100,000 and $250,000 for police, medical personnel, event staff, portable restrooms and other supplies like barricades and cones.
A local organizing committee is being formed to raise private funds, according to the memorandum. AEG has also agreed to cover one-third of any shortfall. Stanford and Palo Alto have also agreed to cover the other two-thirds.
The proposed course would run from Palo Alto City Hall to Stanford and would highlight downtown Palo Alto and the university. The race is expected to bring 50,000 cycling enthusiasts to Palo Alto, benefiting area businesses.
The council meets tonight at 7 p.m. at 250 Hamilton Ave.