2015 Tour of California's 4th stage to start in Pismo, end in Avila Beach

Riders head down the Pismo Beach pier at the start of Stage 5 of the Amgen Tour of California on Thursday, May 15, 2014.
Riders head down the Pismo Beach pier at the start of Stage 5 of the Amgen Tour of California on Thursday, May 15, 2014. jjohnston@thetribunenews.com

The Amgen Tour of California will return to San Luis Obispo County next May, with two cities playing host to professional riders, their support staff and fans for the 10th anniversary of the nation’s largest cycling race.

Tour officials on Monday announced the list of host cities and the route for the eight-day stage race, set for May 10-17, 2015. On May 13, the tour’s fourth stage will start in Pismo Beach and end in Avila Beach — the second time each community has hosted a stage.

More details about the stage, including the length and the route, have not yet been announced.

“We’re happy to have the tour in our county every year,” said county Supervisor Adam Hill, whose district includes Avila Beach and Pismo Beach. “It helps to shed good attention on our area. It’s got such a big international audience. … It’s good for our SLO County brand.”

Pismo Beach Mayor Shelly Higginbotham, whose city hosted a stage start this May, said the race stage would likely start again on the city’s wooden pier.

“It was the first time for Amgen to have a start on a pier,” she said. “In addition, when you have a start like that, they’re out of town quickly so the impacts to traffic and public works are minimal compared to other events.”

Both Hill and Higginbotham said they don’t expect the 2015 race to cost their respective municipalities any more than in past years. In 2013, when Avila Beach served as a stage finish, the Avila Beach Tourism Alliance agreed to spend $30,000 to pay primarily for hotel rooms and meals for tour organizers.

AEG, the Los Angeles-based company that owns the tour, covered the county’s hard costs, including public works and public safety staffing, barriers and portable toilets on the day of the event.

In May, Pismo Beach agreed to spend about $50,320 from the city’s Lodging Business Improvement District, mostly toward hotel rooms, hospitality and meals.

In addition, the city expected to spend $7,500 out of its general fund toward police and public works staff and city services, including portable toilets, recycling and garbage pickup.

In 2015, the eight-day stage race will travel a north-to-south route and span nearly 700 miles, according to a news release from the tour.

The race will start in Sacramento and end in Pasadena, with other host cities including Lodi, Nevada City, San Jose, Santa Barbara, Santa Clarita, Big Bear Lake, Mt. Baldy and Los Angeles.

Tour officials also announced a new three-day professional women’s cycling race from May 8-10, 2015, in South Lake Tahoe and Sacramento.