No title sponsor, race dates yet

Updated: March 26, 2005, 12:05 AM ET
Associated Press

CARSON, Calif. -- The inaugural Tour of California, scheduled for early next year, will have $35 million in committed funding for its first five years, organizers said Friday between sessions of the Track Cycling World Championships.

A few details of the eight-day, 700-mile professional event were detailed Thursday. But race dates, a specific route, individual cities involved or a position on next season's International Cycling Union calendar haven't been announced.

"If we have to put up all the money and not generate any revenue for five years, we will," said Tim Leiweke, president and CEO of AEG, the event's promoters.

A subsidiary of The Anschutz Corporation, AEG owns numerous sports franchises, including the Los Angeles Kings of the NHL, as well as several sport venues and professional soccer teams.

Despite no title sponsor or confirmed racing dates, the Tour of California will feature as many as 18 international teams and will encompass a statewide course, likely progressing north to south, according to organizers.

"This is not a one or two year and out event; this is a long-term commitment," Leiweke said at a news conference Friday. "We are committed to make this one of the two or three best cycling events in the world. We are going to do it the right way, and we want to rival the Tour de France."

The event's name, according to Leiweke, is also subject to change.

"For now, we have Tour of California, and it's a good name-holder," he said.

Event organizers said race details, including potential sponsoring partners, will be announced soon.

Copyright 2005 by The Associated Press