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2009 Tour de Georgia canceled

POSTED: November 18, 2008 5:00 a.m.

ATLANTA - The Tour de Georgia, which last year featured two stops in Hall County, including a daylong time trial at Road Atlanta near Braselton, will not hold its annual race through the state in 2009 but plans to return in 2010.

The Tour de Georgia, the seven-day race billed as North America's premier professional cycling event, has struggled financially as it could not find a title sponsor the last two years.

Support in the Tour de Georgia declined following Lance Armstrong's retirement. The announcement to cancel the race came despite Armstrong's recent comeback, including plans to return to the Georgia event.

The decision to cancel the 2009 race was announced by board member Tom Saddlemire on the race's Web site.

Saddlemire said 2009 will be used "to plan ahead and properly position" the Tour de Georgia.

A survey by North Georgia College and State University shows that the 2008 Tour de Georgia bicycle race had a direct economic impact of $38.6 million in Georgia, up from $27 million in 2007, a 40 percent increase.

While the attendance figures for 2008 were down 20 percent from last year - more than 400,000 this year as compared to 515,000 in 2007 and 500,000 in 2006 - spending was up significantly during the event.

Harris Blackwood contributed to this report



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