The Tour Down Under welcomes ŠKODA AUTO, subsidiary of one of the most established automotive companies in the world, Volkswagen AG, to the peloton in 2008, after confirming major sponsorship of the event for the next three years.
Tourism Minister Jane Lomax-Smith, making the announcement today in Rundle Mall, says Škoda's sponsorship of the Tour Down Under will put the event in brilliant company.
"Škoda is a big supporter of cycling in Europe, currently sponsoring nine ProTour teams, major events such as the Tour de France and is the official car of the Union Cycliste Internationale (UCI).
"The major sponsorship brings direct investment, a strong marketing leverage program and international relationships," Minister Lomax-Smith says.
Head of Škoda Australia, Matthew Wiesner joined Tourism Minister Jane Lomax-Smith for the announcement at which a Skoda Roomster was unveiled. Oppy the Kangaroo, fresh from this year's Tour de France promotion, was on hand for the delivery.
Mr Wiesner says Škoda's love affair with cycling began in 1895 with the production of bicycles. "Whilst over time we made the transition to cars (since 1905), the romance of cycling has remained strong and continued.
"We are looking forward to being part of the Tour Down Under. Our association should help strengthen the event's standing internationally and in turn showcase our cars to an Australian audience," Mr Wiesner says.
"The Tour Down Under has enjoyed a strong relationship with the Tour de France over the last three years and we are looking to build on this relationship through our partnership with Škoda," Minister Lomax-Smith says.
This announcement comes just before UCI's decision about the Tour Down Under's bid to become part of the ProTour calendar. The UCI ProTour Council will make its decision in September this year.
The partnership with Škoda demonstrates the strength of the Tour Down Under brand and event standing in its own right. This is the first of several new partnership announcements over the coming months.Škoda Australia as a division of Volkswagen Group Australia Pty Ltd, is launching the Škoda brand into Australia in October 2007 at the Australian International Motor Show in Sydney. Skoda has built a reputation in Europe for quality and innovation, which will now be on show to Australia.
The Tour Down Under, Australia's premier international cycling event is set to celebrate 10 brilliant years from 20 - 27 January 2008.
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