Solvang – For just the 3rd time in 7 years the Tour of California will not make a stop in Solvang. The 8-stage tour has already started, and Bakersfield will host the Time Trials this year.The familiar sounds of cowbells are now a distant memory.”Oh, I do miss the cowbells, that was exciting when you get to hear that sound and the enthusiasm,” said Tracy Farhad, Executive Director of the Solvang Conference and Visitors Bureau.It means we won’t get a chance to see the top riders here in the Tri-Counties, but the legacy the race has left behind in the Santa Ynez Valley is still riding strong.”Because of the four years of exposure Solvang is now known as the place to come to even do the time trials,” said Farhad. “It has put the Santa Ynez Valley on the map.””The publicity we got around the world, you couldn’t buy it,” said Max Hanberg, Owner of Solvang Shoe Store.Economically, it was a big boost for Santa Barbara County. On average, the race brought in more than $1 million every year. Switching gears to this year, you would think the pace in Solvang would be a lot slower without the Tour of California, but that is not the case. The Santa Ynez Valley shows now signs of braking.”The business owners, the hoteliers they’re not feeling the loss,” said Farhad.The benefit of hosting the time trials four out of seven years means tourists are now riding into town all year long. “It’s a huge boon for California and what ever is good for California is good for Solvang,” said Farhad.KEY News Reporter Scott Hurst has the story.
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