ATLANTA, Dec. 5 /PRNewswire/ -- Tour de Georgia today announced that
DaimlerChrysler, one of the world's leading automotive, transportation and
service companies, will be the title sponsor of the six-day, annual cycling
stage race debuting April 22-27, 2003. The tile sponsorship represents both a
significant funding commitment and contribution of an assortment of passenger,
cargo and light-duty vehicles to support the event.
Specific sponsorship and support will be through the company's Dodge brand,
as the event will serve as a prominent forum to promote and showcase a variety
of new products including, but not limited to, its line of new Sprinter Vans.
The agreement designates Dodge products as the "Official Event Vehicles of Tour
"I am very pleased that DaimlerChrysler's commitment will assure the 2003
Tour de Georgia," said Gov. Roy E. Barnes. "Tour de Georgia promises to have one
of the greatest economic impacts across Georgia since the 1996 Olympics. Most
importantly, the event will carry the Georgia Cancer Coalition's message of
education, awareness, prevention, detection and treatment throughout Georgia --
a 'call to action' for every citizen to get involved to defeat this horrible
In commenting on Dodge's sponsor role, Darryl Jackson, vice president of
Dodge marketing remarked, "We look forward to our new relationship with Tour de
Georgia. As we extend our audience reach and sponsorship activities through
innovative and high profile events such as this, we are especially pleased to
simultaneously support all-important humanitarian, research and awareness
efforts in the areas of cancer treatment, prevention and care. We further view
this event as a mutually beneficial opportunity to not only support the state's
economic development, but also showcase some of our exciting products to both a
regional and national audience."
"A world-class sporting event deserves a world-class sponsor," said Stan
Holm, executive director of Tour de Georgia. "We are excited and honored that
DaimlerChrysler, one of the world's top corporations, has become the title
sponsor of Tour de Georgia. Cycling's popularity in the U.S. is skyrocketing
thanks to the heroics of Lance Armstrong and other top American cycling stars.
It remains our hope that just as this race will grow and prosper, so will
Georgia's partnership with DaimlerChrysler."
R.K. Sehgal, commissioner of the Georgia Department of Industry, Trade and
Tourism added, "DaimlerChrysler has indicated that they view major cycling
events as an excellent way to showcase their products worldwide. Their
sponsorship of Tour de Georgia gives them ownership of what is poised to be the
premiere cycling event in North America."
The 2003 Tour de Georgia will cover more than 600 miles (965 km), going
through the host cities of Savannah, Augusta, Macon, Columbus, Pine Mountain
(Callaway), Rome, Dalton, Gainesville and Atlanta. In addition to being the
start and/or finish to each day's stage race, each host city will also be home
to a celebration of events and activities.
Tour de Georgia is the only stage race of this length in the U.S. sanctioned
by the International Cycling Union (UCI) for 2003, and one of only five races in
the U.S. on the official UCI calendar. Not since the Tour duPont ended in 1996
has there been a major U.S. stage race sanctioned by the UCI. The race 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.
Tour de Georgia will benefit the Georgia Cancer Coalition through proceeds
and creating awareness of Georgia's role in the fight against cancer through
research, prevention, early detection and treatment. The Georgia Cancer
Coalition is a public-private partnership focused on building a coordinated
statewide network of cancer care to be delivered through public and private
hospitals, private physicians and other health care providers.
The race will begin on Tuesday, April 22 with a prologue through Savannah's
downtown squares and parks, in which cyclists will compete individually against
the clock in a time trial. The first stage of Tour de Georgia, where the racers
will compete together, will start on Wednesday in Augusta and finish in Macon.
Stage Two will see the teams leave Macon on Thursday and race to Columbus. Pine
Mountain (Callaway) will furnish the start for Stage Three on Friday, which
finishes in Rome. The north Georgia mountains play host to the cyclists on Stage
Four from Dalton to Gainesville on Saturday, which will be a stern test for the
riders. The race promises an exciting finish on Sunday, April 27, with Stage
Five planned as a circuit race around Atlanta.
DaimlerChrysler is sponsoring Tour de Georgia at a time when professional
cycling has never been more popular with Americans. Recent one-day professional
races in San Francisco, New York and Miami have drawn huge crowds. An estimated
crowd of 500,000 turned out on Sept. 15, 2002 to witness the San Francisco Grand
Prix. More than 100,000 spectators packed into New York's financial district to
watch the New York City Cycling Championship on Aug. 4, 2002, while 20,000 fans
were in Miami's Coconut Grove to see the Miami Cycling Classic on Sept. 29,
Cycling is the second most popular recreational sport in the U.S., attracting
more participants than golf and tennis combined. There are estimated to be more
than 64 million recreational cyclists in the U.S. (Estimates according to the
National Association of Sporting Goods Retailers, Simmons and MRI.)
DaimlerChrysler is one of the world's leading automotive, transportation and
services companies. Its passenger car brands include Dodge, Mercedes-Benz,
Chrysler, Jeep(R), Maybach and smart. Commercial vehicles are produced under the
Mercedes-Benz, Freightliner, Sterling, Western Star, Setra, Thomas Built Buses,
Orion and American LaFrance brands. It offers financial and other services
through DaimlerChrysler Services. With 372,500 employees, DaimlerChrysler
achieved revenues of EUR 152.9 billion ($136.1 billion) in 2001.
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