ATLANTA, (October 21, 2002) - Tour de Georgia today announced that the International Cycling Union (UCI), the international governing body of professional cycling, has sanctioned the six-day stage race scheduled for April 22-27, 2003.
Tour de Georgia is the only stage race of this length in the U.S. that is sanctioned by the UCI for 2003, and one of only five races in the U.S. on the official UCI calendar. Not since the Tour du Pont ended in 1996 has there been a major U.S. stage race sanctioned by the UCI.
"UCI's inclusion of Tour de Georgia on the international cycling calendar is a major step in bringing world-class cycling to the United States," said Stan Holm, executive director. "The top international cycling teams plan their season based on the UCI calendar, and Tour de Georgia now gives them a rare opportunity to compete and gain exposure in a challenging stage race in the U.S."
Tour de Georgia is expected to draw an estimated 1 million spectators and 50 million television viewers in the U.S., while generating a projected $30 million in economic development for Georgia over five years. The race will cover more than 600 miles (965 km) including a prologue, stages over rolling terrain, a tough mountain stage and a finishing circuit race around the streets of Atlanta.
The UCI designated Tour de Georgia as a 2.3 ranked race. This rating reflects the high degree of difficulty of the course, the number of valuable UCI points available to teams and individual racers, and the restriction of the competition to division 1, 2 or 3 professional and national teams. Stage race ratings run from the highest classification, Grand Tour, such as the Tour de France, to 2.6 for the lowest rated race.
Professional cyclists are ranked by the number of UCI points accumulated during the racing year. The top 15 placed riders at the end of Tour de Georgia will receive points, with the overall winner earning 100 points. The next four highest finishers at the end of the race will receive 75, 60, 55 and 50 points respectively, while the top three finishers of each day's stage will receive 20, 10 and 5 points respectively.
"Tour de Georgia will be an attractive race for the top cyclists in the world due to the number of UCI points available and the unique opportunity to gain exposure in the largest market on the planet," said Holm. "With each edition of the race, we plan for Tour de Georgia to gain in stature and prestige, benefiting the Georgia Cancer Coalition, the state of Georgia and cycling in America."
About Tour de Georgia
Tour de Georgia is an annual weeklong, world-class, professional cycling stage race and rolling festival across Georgia held each spring. Tour de Georgia's five-year vision is to grow the event into "North America's Premiere Cycling Event" and the world's fourth Grand Touring Event ? joining Tour de France, Giro d'Italia (Tour of Italy) and Vuelta a Espana (Tour of Spain) at the pinnacle of professional cycling. Tour de Georgia also is host to a rolling festival of family events and activities all along the race route benefiting Georgia's economy statewide. Proceeds from Tour de Georgia will benefit the Georgia Cancer Coalition and serve in creating awareness for Georgia's role in the fight against cancer. Tour de Georgia is owned and operated by The Georgia Partnership for Economic Development (GPED), a non-profit foundation that does business as "Tour de Georgia." For more information, visit www.tourdegeorgia.com.
The Georgia Partnership for Economic Development is a not-for profit foundation which operates as a public-private partnership with the Georgia Department of Industry, Trade & Tourism in attracting new business investment, encouraging the expansion of existing industry, locating new markets for Georgia products, attracting tourists to Georgia, promoting the state as a location for film and video projects, as well as planning and mobilizing state resources for economic development.