Illustration by Rachel Edelstein.
Illustration by Rachel Edelstein.

Santa Cruz bike enthusiasts, rejoice.

Last week the Santa Cruz Beach Boardwalk signed on as the official sponsor of the third-stage finish for the Amgen Tour of California, affirming that the famous bike race will be making a return to the city in 2010. Organizers are hoping it will be an even bigger success than last year, with a larger venue for the finish line and a variety of local sponsors.

Boardwalk spokesman Kris Reyes spoke highly of last year’s event and said that the Boardwalk wanted to take on a bigger role as a result.

“The folks who organized the event last year did such a great job and brought a lot of positive energy to the city,” Reyes said. “It’s because of this that the Boardwalk wanted to become a bigger part of the event, which is why we donated $50,000 to help fund the cost.”

Matt Twisselman, chairman of the Local Organizing Committee, worked for three years to get the race to consider a stop in Santa Cruz. All his work paid off in 2009, and the Amgen Tour thought the job was so well done that Santa Cruz was awarded the stage again for 2010.

“Santa Cruz is a town that loves their outdoor activities, [such as] surfing, biking, beach volleyball … it’s a very active community,” Twisselman said. “The Amgen Tour of California celebrates the outdoors and living an active lifestyle.”

Such a huge event doesn’t come cheap, but Twisselman assures that the committee is doing all it can to help raise money.

“We are well on our way to reaching our goal of $245,000, which is what it would cost the city at the most,” Twisselman said. “The things that cost the most are police services, getting hotel rooms for the bikers, and making sure there is food for them too, but our organization and our sponsors are doing what we can to offset these costs.”

Spokesman Bicycles is just one of the many local sponsors of the event, who hope to gain business while promoting Santa Cruz and its active community.

“It was such a great event last year, [and] I don’t think there is anything we would like to change,” said Matthew Potter, who works sales at the store. “We had an expo down at the finish line, which was packed with people, and threw a little party back here at the store after.”

Potter, much like Twisselman, sees the event as a way to promote and give back to a community that has helped keep many local bike shops alive.

“Running a bike shop is no easy task, so when the chance came along to become a sponsor to this event we jumped at it,” Potter said. “It gives our store a chance to promote ourselves and give back to the city and the overall biking community.”

Boardwalk spokesman Reyes feels that the event can only be a benefit to the community of Santa Cruz.

“The event last year really showed Santa Cruz in a positive light. It really showed the best that our community has to offer,” Reyes said. “It really shows everyone in California, and even the world, how great our city is.”