Tour of Georgia 2009 Canceled
6th Edition of the Tour Returns in 2010 - Plans Announced for Tour de
(Atlanta, GA- 11/17/2008) Following the conclusion of a very successful 2008 Tour de Georgia
presented by AT&T, the Board of Directors of the Tour de Georgia Foundation,
Inc., announced today their plans for the future of the Tour.
2007 Final Podium: David Canada Gracia (Saunier Duval/Prodir), Janez Brajkovic
(Discovery Channel), Christian Vandevelde (Team CSC)Photo © 2008 Ben Ross
Speaking on behalf of the Foundation’s Board of Directors, long time member
Tom Saddlemire announced that the Tour de Georgia will not be held in 2009 but
will return in 2010. Mr. Saddlemire, newly retired CFO of GE Energy, explained
that “with the help of the Lt. Governor, the Tour had its most successful year
yet, raising close to $3.2 million in operating expenses and commitments for
more than $500,000 in support of cancer research through the Aflac Cancer Center
at Children’s Healthcare and the Georgia Cancer Coalition.
"We believe that this unique and exciting event will endure. We have decided
to use 2009 as a time to plan ahead and properly position the Tour de Georgia to
make the best use of the new partnerships we forged during the 2008 Tour de
Georgia Presented by AT&T, such as our relationships with Blue Cross Blue Shield
and Road Atlanta. The planning process for the Tour de Georgia requires a
tremendous amount of time and effort and we wanted to give all of our partners
enough time to plan and allocate their resources to take full advantage of the
event. Therefore, we will skip 2009 and the Board will petition USAC and the UCI
for the Tour de Georgia's return to the world calendar in 2010.
Craig Lesser, former Commissioner of the Georgia Department of Economic
Development said that “The Tour de Georgia was initiated by the Georgia
Department of Industry, Trade & Tourism (now Georgia Department of Economic
Development) in 2003 with a focus on creating a world-class cycling event which
fostered significant economic development, tourism and world-wide exposure. We
achieved that goal. The Tour de Georgia quickly developed stature, gaining
international ranking (by UCI and USA Cycling, Inc.) as a spring tradition in
the professional sport of cycling. The Tour de Georgia attracted the best teams
in the world and previous champions included such stars as Lance Armstrong, Tom
Danielson and Chris Horner. Over the course of six years, the Tour de Georgia
has attracted 3.2 million spectators, many of whom traveled to Georgia from out
of state, and generated a direct economic impact totaling over $186 million. The
2008 Tour de Georgia, our most successful Tour yet, yielded over $38.6 million
in direct economic impact for the State. We have come a long way since 2003.
Chairman of the Board, Lt. Governor Casey Cagle added, “The support we
received from our Georgia sponsor corporations, our host cities and the citizens
of Georgia was amazing in 2008. Since April, we have had an enormous response
from our partners on ways we can strengthen the Tour for the future, and we have
been listening. Our host cities want to have time to prepare tourism packages
and our health providers are enthusiastic about developing plans to use the
Health and Wellness expos to spread their message across the state. Our cycling
friends from across the state want to partner with us to create participant
activities which are inclusive of the whole family. We have listened to their
advice and have decided to skip one year so that the Tour de Georgia can once
and for all be ahead of the game in the planning process. This is a decision I
feel is wise and one that will strengthen the Tour de Georgia for years to come.
I commend our Board for its thoughtfulness in arriving at this decision. We look
forward to using 2009 to plan the 2010 Tour and I am committed to playing an
active role in that process.
Steve Johnson, CEO of USA Cycling, said that he “was obviously disappointed
to learn that the 2009 Tour de Georgia has been cancelled for 2009. However, I
am very pleased that the race will return in 2010. Since its inception in 2003,
the Tour de Georgia has been an important international stage race featuring
some of the top riders in the world. Equally important, it provided the impetus
for major stage races in California and Missouri. We look forward to the Tour de
Georgia returning in 2010.
The Tour de Georgia Presented by AT&T is North America ’s premier
professional cycling race. First held in 2003, the Tour de Georgia Presented by
AT&T is an international professional sporting event that brings thousands of
spectators and cycling enthusiasts to the State of Georgia each Spring. The 2008
Tour de Georgia Presented by AT&T was a six-stage race, covering more than 600
miles across the State of Georgia, from the shores of Tybee Island to the
mountains of North Georgia, with an exciting circuit finish in the state
capitol, Atlanta. Traditionally, professional teams use the Tour de Georgia to
prepare their riders for the most challenging tours held in Europe, including
the Tour de France. Several teams which rode in the 2008 Tour de Georgia
Presented by AT&T also participated in the 2008 Tour de France. Riders such as
Christian van de Velde and George Hincapie, who were fierce competitors in the
2008 Tour de Georgia Presented by AT&T, also rode extremely well in the 2008
Tour de France. The climb up Brasstown Bald in the mountains of North Georgia, a
favorite of cycling fans and a legendary stage in the professional racing
circuit, is considered by professional cyclists to be the most challenging and
grueling stage of any race held in North America.
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