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Amgen extends contract with Tour of California

Amgen will continue its sponsorship of the Tour of California, according to an announcement from the event’s public relations firm on Thursday.

“We are very excited about renewing our title sponsorship,” said Ray Jordan, senior vice president of corporate affairs at Amgen. “At Amgen, we are passionate about serving patients and this is a great opportunity to connect with them from a different perspective.”

The race, which runs in May, often draws some of the world’s top teams and riders as they look to hone their form for the Tour de France. American Tejay van Garderen (BMC Racing) won the week-long race through California in 2013, his first major stage-race win as a professional. The race also includes programs for those affected by cancer, which will continue, such as the Breakaway From Cancer initiative, a nation-wide program.

“From day one of our partnership, Amgen has been an extraordinary, dedicated partner and has worked closely with us to build the race into what it is today – America’s premier cycling event, and one of the most anticipated on the international calendar,” said Kristin Bachochin, executive director of the Amgen Tour of California and senior vice president of AEG Sports, which owns the event.

Amgen’s most recent contract with the race ended after the 2013 edition. The brand behind cancer drug Erythropoietin (EPO), Amgen has renewed with the race multiple times since its 2006 inception. Terms of the new deal were not disclosed.

Building on the footprint laid by the Tour de Georgia, the Amgen Tour has ushered in a new era of racing in the United States. Since then, the Larry H. Miller Tour of Utah, USA Pro Challenge, and Tour of Alberta have all taken flight, offering a robust calendar of international racing in the North America. Last year, the route went from south to north for the first time. The course for 2014 has not yet been announced.