After hosting the prologue to the Tour of California bicycle race in February, the City of Palo Alto is now turning its sights to Feb. 16, 2009, in hopes of hosting a stage finish for next year's race.
Palo Alto was courted by tour sponsor AEG after it successfully hosted the professional bike race's prologue event in February, according to Councilwoman Yoriko Kishimoto.
That one-day event generated more than $43,000 for the city, according to estimates prepared by city staff members.
"People have come up to me and said 'Oh, I just really hope we can do this again,'" Councilman John Barton said.
Palo Alto is vying to host a finish for a day-long stage of the 2009 race that would start north of San Francisco, drop down out of the Santa Cruz mountains and finish in downtown.
The bicyclists would speed through town in a "short burst of competitive energy," Kishimoto said.
Local planners also hope to organize a women's event (the Tour of California is men-only) and encourage the cyclists to train for the race in Palo Alto, generating additional hotel-tax revenues for the city, Kishimoto said.
"It's a really exciting opportunity to put Palo Alto on the world map for cyclists," Kishimoto said.
Next year's agreement wouldn't include Stanford University, although it was a good partner this year, Kishimoto said. The route might cut through the campus, but having a two-way, rather than three-way agreement will simplify the event's finances, Kishimoto said.
"We hope this would be an easier effort. Now we have more experience, and we're going to try to really focus on what is needed," City Manager Frank Benest said.
On June 2, the council authorized Benest, or the next city manager, to work with AEG to reach an agreement.