The Amgen Tour of California is two days from its start in Nevada City, California, and race organizers have pleaded for cooperation from fans in keeping the roads paint-free. According to technical director Chuck Hodge, the tour risks permit losses going forward if the traditional practice of road painting continues.
“It could endanger our permits,” said Hodge. “It’s ironic that everyone worries about the road closure times and access, and after the race the last four years, the one thing that has consistently come up as an issue is the fact that there is, they call it graffiti, left behind on the road.”
“They” are the multiple government agencies that offer upwards of 90 permits to race officials during the eight-stage race, including the California Department of Transportation and the host communities of this year’s event. According to Hodge, his office and those agencies have been inundated over the first four years of the race’s existence with complaints over the permanent markings left on the race’s decisive territory.
“There have been very vocal complaints from residents regarding this issue,” said Hodge. “We’re looking for fans to realize that these are shared roads with the local communities, that we’re only borrowing these roads for a day from the people that are there all year.”
Hodge requested that fans mark the road only with removable substances, such as chalk. Event staff and law enforcement will monitor the route throughout the race for violators.
“We have asked law enforcement, if they see it, to ask people not to paint and let people know that that is coming from us, from the organization,” said Hodge. “We would appreciate if fans would enjoy the race, but also not do any road markings that would endanger our ability to hold the race in the future.”
The race organization first addressed the issue of road paint in 2009 when they offered a similar request. The Lance Armstrong Foundation distributed yellow chalk along the route and Hodge did report that he saw a decrease in the paint at last year’s race. “There has been an improvement and we really need to thank the fans for that,” he said. “We took the initiative really last year to try to make people realize that it is an issue. This is something that could effect the future of the race, believe it or not.”
While Hodge and LAF communications director Katharine McLane were unaware of any chalk hand outs at this year’s edition, Hodge hopes that fans will honor the organization’s request and limit their road markings to the temporary variety.