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The Amgen Tour of California has parted ways with Medalist Sports, the race’s long-time organizer, and Tour de France organizer Amaury Sport Organization (ASO) may step in to fill the gap.
“Medalist Sports was notified by [race owner] AEG that its management contract for the technical and operational production of the Amgen Tour of California will not be renewed for 2016,” a Medalist representative confirmed to VeloNews via email.
A replacement for Medalist has not yet been officially named, and AEG was not immediately available for comment. However, an internal Medalist email obtained by VeloNews suggests Tour de France organizer ASO may be increasing its presence in the race.
The email, sent to notify Medalist staff and partners of the California contract loss, describes a “strong assumption that the ASO will be playing a major role in the [Tour of California’s] production moving forward.”
A partnership between the two event companies is nothing new: ASO has managed international TV broadcast sales at the Tour of California since 2010, and AEG is involved in on-site hospitality and “various television components” in France, according to AEG’s website.
Rumors of an ASO takeover of the Tour of California swirled in 2010 but were always flatly denied by company representatives. ASO has stayed involved with the race in the five years since, but has never sought to expand its role.
Medalist’s loss of the Tour of California contract was not the result of the company’s performance, which AEG was still pleased with, according to a source close to Medalist. Medalist will continue to manage the Colorado-based USA Pro Challenge as well as the Larry H. Miller Tour of Utah and the Tour of Alberta.
“While disappointed to see the partnership end, Medalist Sports is immensely proud of its team and the 10 great years of partnerships, accomplishments and memories,” said Chris Aronhalt, a Medalist managing partner, in a statement to VeloNews.
“We wish the Amgen Tour of California the best, and are grateful for the opportunity to help build its tradition. Our focus continues to be on our clients and partners, as well as being part of the positive growth of the sport of cycling.”