Rancho Cordova, the community that is home to 22 miles of pedestrian-bike paths and American River Parkway trails, always seemed like a natural location for America’s premier racing event.
It finally happened this year when the 14-year-old Amgen Tour of California selected Rancho Cordova as one of its 13 host cities. The city hosted the Stage 2 start May 13 across the street from City Hall, where more than 130 riders embarked on a 133.3-mile trek northeast over the Sierra Nevada mountain range and into South Lake Tahoe on one of the most grueling legs of the week-long, seven-stage race. The Tour began the day before in Sacramento and returned to the Central Valley for Stage 3 in Stockton the following day.
After Rancho Cordova was named a host city last December, planning began in earnest to coordinate road closures and obtain safety permits. Rancho Cordova Travel and Tourism, led by Executive Director Marc Sapoznik, had been involved in past years with the Amgen Tour in assisting neighboring host cities such as Elk Grove, Lake Tahoe and Folsom to secure resources such as hotel rooms. The city also hosted the two-day Golden State Race Series earlier in May.
“We’re just thrilled to be able to showcase the city, and especially in this way, with the premier cycling event in the U.S., and with athletes that you see from all over the globe,” Sapoznik said during a pre-race presentation. “The organizing committee worked closely with the city; the team has been phenomenal getting things together.”
During the week of the Tour, Rancho Cordova sponsored several events, such as TV watch parties, and Fort Rock Brewing offered a different beer each night representing each stage, Sapoznik says.
Rancho Cordova’s celebration began 90 minutes before the 9:30 a.m. start. The city used more than 100 volunteers to assist during the race and the accompanying festival. Around 500 local students attended the Tour on a field trip while thousands of fans mingled with the riders.
The riders headed eastbound onto White Rock Road lined with cheering crowds, then sped through Placerville and over the Carson Pass toward the South Lake Tahoe finish line almost seven hours later.
“This is amazing; I’m very proud of Rancho Cordova today,” says eight-year Rancho Cordova resident Yolanda Perez, while waiting near the starting line with her husband Alex.
Sapoznik says the Tour brings international exposure to the city. The race is broadcast live on NBC Sports Network and aired on various global TV channels and Internet streams in more than 200 countries. Sapoznik says Rancho Cordova is interested in making a bid to host again.
Sapoznik says the city is still working out the final numbers, but around 80 percent of the overall costs associated with hosting — probably just under $100,000 he says — were covered by sponsorships, volunteers and in-kind agreements.
Rancho Cordova’s identity as one of the region’s best-kept secrets frustrates Marc Sapoznik. As executive director of Rancho Cordova Travel & Tourism, his job is to promote the city’s assets tor both out-of-towners and locals alike.
A promotional effort created by the City and supported by the Rancho Cordova Chamber of Commerce, the Barrel District is an attempt to unite these craft beverage manufacturers and brand Rancho Cordova as a distinct destination for beer and spirits.