Clovis News: Sports

Tour of California moving to May

America's most prestigious bike race, the Tour of California, will be held May 16-23 next year, a cycling Web site reported Wednesday.

The eight-day stage race has taken place in February since its inception in 2006.

Citing an unnamed source, VeloNews.com reported that race organizers made the switch to May after also considering dates in April and June. By moving the race from winter to late spring, organizers can bank on better weather conditions and also have the option of adding more mountain stages in the Sierra Nevada.

However, the new May dates will conflict with the Giro d'Italia, generally considered cycling's second-biggest race after the Tour de France.

When reached by VeloNews.com for comment, Andrew Messick, president of race owner AEG Sports, said, "It's premature to make that announcement."

After the race's first two years were held in warm, sunny weather, heavy rain has hampered the past two editions, which may have precipitated the move.

The 2009 Tour of California included stops in Merced, Clovis and Visalia. It was the first time the race had visited the central San Joaquin Valley.

Host cities for the 2010 race aren't expected to be announced until late summer.

American Levi Leipheimer has won the race three consecutive years after finishing sixth to Floyd Landis in 2006.

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