Posted by Jonathan Maus ( Publisher/Editor ) on May 30th, 2008 at 2:36 pm
in downtown Portland.
(Photos © J. Maus)
A study released yesterday by two Georgia colleges found that the Tour de Georgia — a week-long professional road race that wrapped up in April — contributed $38 million to that state’s economy. That news comes on the heels of an announcement to expand the recently concluded Mt. Hood Cycling Classic into a statewide event.
Could we be seeing a Tour of Oregon in 2009? Absolutely. That’s if Mt. Hood Cycling Classic (MHCC) spokesman Tre Hendricks has anything to do with it.
With it’s exciting opening stages, the MHCC brought big-time bike racing to downtown Portland for the first time ever and the City of Portland not only put out the welcome mat, they invested $30,000 to help make it happen.
And the investment paid off.
Hendricks estimates (based on the formula used by researchers in the Georgia report) that the MHCC brought in $760,000 to the city of Portland and a total of $2.6 million statewide. And now, he wants to make the race much bigger and better for 2009.
“The options for the race are limitless. Oregon is the perfect to state in which to hold a world-class stage race, we’ve got growing metropolitan areas, high desert, 3 distinct mountain ranges, the Gorge, Willamette Valley wine country, and a spectacular coastline.”
— Tre Hendricks
His plans are for an eight-day stage race that would take competitors from Portland to Salem, from Salem up to Mt. Hood, down the mountain and through the Columbia River Gorge, and then back to Portland for the finale.
This idea might sound familiar.
Back in November of 2006, Portland City Commissioner Sam Adams told a group of leaders from Oregon’s cycling industry that, “I would like to see a world-class bike racing event in Portland.” He then encouraged the group to come up with a proposal to garner funds from a surplus in the city’s general fund.
The exciting idea never quite panned out, but now, the organizers behind the Mt. Hood Cycling Classic, are poised and motivated to finally turn this vision into a reality.
Hendricks told me today that he is already working with state tourism officials and others on plans for 2009. He said in addition to the much larger geographic scale of the race, they’re working on a national television coverage deal with Comcast Sportsnet and/or the Versus Channel.
Another component of the race in 2009 will be a recreational ride/tour that will follow the same route as the pros.
Beyond next year, Hendricks says in 2010, “the options for the race are limitless. Oregon is the perfect to state in which to hold a world-class stage race, we’ve got growing metropolitan areas, high desert, 3 distinct mountain ranges, the Gorge, Willamette Valley wine country, and a spectacular coastline.”
Stay tuned for more developments on this exciting effort.