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Get the Tour back on track
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Forsyth County News
Prior to 2003, bicycle racing for most Georgians meant a pack of 10-year-olds pedaling rusty Schwinn’s down a rural road. The Tour de Georgia changed that.

In recent years the tour brought some of the world’s best cyclist to Georgia, including the sport’s pre-eminent star, Lance Armstrong.

On more than one occasion Forsyth County has been part of the annual event, which makes it even more disappointing to hear that organizers have cancelled the Tour for 2009.

The Tour de Georgia Board of Directors announced earlier this month that the competition will not be held in 2009, but will return in 2010. Organizers hope to use the coming year to plan and improve the Tour.

When there are harsh downturns in the economy, non-essential leisure activities quickly feel the pinch. In recent weeks, the metro Atlanta area has seen a number of sporting events cancelled.

In a short period of time it became a part of the state’s annual celebration of spring, bringing positive attention to Georgia and introducing many of us to the rigors and excitement of the sport.

The Tour was unique in that it crisscrossed the state rather than being based in one central location. Whether they were racing along the coast or on the annually grueling leg up Brasstown Bald, riders in the Tour entertained and amazed.

The competition has left a positive financial imprint in Georgia. Since 2003, the Tour has generated an estimated $186 million in direct economic impact for the state, much of it from spectators who have traveled here from out of state.

Last year’s event also raised some $500,000 in pledges and contributions for cancer research.

We hope the Tour makes a successful return in 2010, and would love to see Forsyth County once again be an integral part of the competition.