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Tour Of California Cycling Race To Debut In 2006


Annual Race Will Showcase California Cities and Other Attractions to the World

LOS ANGELES (March 25, 2005) - The inaugural Tour of California cycling road race will be held throughout the state of California in early 2006 it was announced by Timothy J. Leiweke, President and CEO of AEG, presenters and promoters of the eight-stage, more than 700-mile 'Tour de France-style' cycling competition.

The unique "rolling festival" scheduled over eight consecutive days will feature up to 18 professional cycling teams from around the world racing against a backdrop of the most picturesque landscapes the United States has to offer - from the northern California redwoods and wine country along the Pacific Ocean coastline and ultimately concluding amid a true southern California setting. Along the way, it is estimated that over one million spectators will line the course throughout the Tour of California's debut with millions more tuning in daily to the national and international broadcast of the event, which has recently petitioned the Union Cycliste International (UCI) and USA Cycling to be an officially sanctioned race.

"Cycling, which has consistently been ranked one the country's top three participation sports, is currently experiencing a period of unprecedented growth and popularity," said Leiweke. "Thanks to American champions like Lance Armstrong, George Hincapie, Bobby Julich and northern California resident Levi Leipheimer in addition to the tremendous interest that the Tour de France has generated nationwide the past decade, the time is clearly right for AEG to develop this exciting property which we believe will become the premier American cycling event."

California Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger has designated the state's Secretary of Education Richard Riordan to act as his liaison to the event. Riordan commented, "There is no better sporting event to showcase a region, reach an international, broad, active lifestyle audience and build brand awareness than a week-long cycling event. In addition to the tremendous economic impact and notoriety that the Tour of California will bring to our state, the television coverage of these great athletes cycling in front of our very recognizable and picturesque landmarks will amount to a daily video travelogue for California."

Details about the actual racecourse and schedule, cities hosting festivals and other event-related activities as well as the confirmed participants will be released at a later. AEG has named Robert Colarossi Managing Director of the Tour of California who is responsible for overseeing all race-related details including marketing, sponsorship sales and broadcast contracts.

"We are very pleased that AEG has developed this new and exciting cycling event," said M. Hein Verbruggen, President Union Cycliste Internationale (UCI). "The creation of the Tour of California race is very important for the continued worldwide development of our sport on both a fan and athlete level. It is clear that the continental calendar will be richer with the addition of this new event."

Negotiations are currently underway with several broadcast networks to produce a nightly highlight show and weekend programming of live race coverage in addition to international distribution.

"The birth of another great event here in the U.S. demonstrates the popularity and growth of the sport nationwide," commented Gerard Bisceglia, CEO, USA Cycling. "Surely the Tour of California would attract top international and domestic teams."

The event's title sponsor as well as other marketing and promotional partners will be announced at a later date.

More information about the Tour of California can be found on www.tourofcalifornia.com.

Contact:
Michael Roth
Vice President, Communications - AEG
(213) 742-7155
mroth@staplescenter.com

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