Tour of Walla Walla rolls back into town

Tour of Walla Walla, the bicycle stage race tradition of two decades, is back on track after cancellation last year.

More than 300 competitors are registered for this weekend’s races, which take place over three days, starting Friday.

Race coordinators Michael and Kathryn Austin got a boost with some assistance in marketing from Visit Walla Walla after last year’s race was sidelined from the devastatingly long winter and its effects on travel.

“Visit Walla Walla got involved with this as soon as it was canceled last year because we were so disappointed that an event that brings in so many people went to the wayside,” Visit Executive Director Ron Williams said.

With registrations in the past as high as 40, the 307 who had registered by late Wednesday morning was an encouraging sign of success, Williams said. About 300 registrations have been needed in previous years for a break-even event, which includes prize money for respective winners in their categories.

About 450 people are expected in town for the races, which include Saturday’s downtown Criterium and road closures through central portions of the neighborhood.

Williams said Visit Walla Walla marketing agency DVA Advertising & Public Relations helped with email marketing and paid social media advertising targeted toward cycling enthusiasts.

Visit also created a “landing” page to link participants with schedules, critical information and other activities of interest for those coming to support racers.

See the original story by in the Walla Walla Union-Bulletin here.


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