What's Cool In Road Cycling

New Pro Tour For USA

ATLANTA – (December 5, 2002) – 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 title sponsorship represents both a significant funding commitment and contribution of an assortment of passenger, cargo and light-duty vehicles to support the event.

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 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 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 while 20,000 fans were in Miami’s Coconut Grove to see the Miami Cycling Classic on Sept. 29.

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 de Georgia.”

“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 United States 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.”

“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 disease.”

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.”

R.K. Sehgal, commissioner of the Georgia Department of Industry, Trade and Tourism, added, “DaimlerChrysler has indicated that they view major cycling events as excellent ways 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.”

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.)

About DaimlerChrysler
DaimlerChrysler is one of the world’s leading automotive, transportation and services companies. Its passenger car brands include Dodge, Mercedes-Benz, Chrysler, Jeep®, 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.

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