January 9, 2006 (Atlanta, Ga.) – In the world of sports, the state of Georgia is gaining popularity for more than golf and its four major, professional sports teams. In just its third year, the Tour de Georgia received international and national recognition as a prominent, professional sporting event, and was recently recognized by the Governor of Georgia, Sonny Perdue, as one of the top economic successes of 2005.
In the recently unveiled 2005Cyclingnews Reader Poll, the Tour de Georgia was voted the third best Stage Race in the world. Cyclingnews.com, one of the most viewed cycling web sites in the world with dedicated readership in 90 countries, registered over 7,500 submissions in the year-end survey. Only two Grand Tours had more votes, the Tour de France and Giro d’Italia, and the Tour de Georgia was the only race in North America to be named on the Top 10 list, beating long-standing favorites like Paris-Nice and Vuelta a Espana.
Tour de Georgia
“North America’s Premier Cycling Event and Rolling Festival”
– April 18-23, 2006
– Over 650 miles in six days
– 1.8 million spectators in first three years
– 15 of the best cycling teams in U.S. and abroad each year
– 4,000 volunteers annually
– Benefiting the Georgia Cancer Coalition
Governor Perdue announced the state’s leading economic development successes of 2005, resulting in an improved climate for business and tourism. The Tour de Georgia was No. 9 on a list of Top 12 notable events or programs recognized for making an impact on the state this past year, and was the only sports property on the list.
“Looking back on the economic development achievements of 2005, I’m proud that Georgia has improved its climate for new businesses and tourists,” said Governor Perdue in a statement at the end of December 2005. “Georgia’s economic development team worked relentlessly in 2005 to recruit and retain jobs and investment, which resulted in some exciting news this year.”
The Tour was recognized for its explosive success in just three years, with a record $36.2 million in direct economic impact for the state of Georgia this past year. The event was also cited for increasing attendance, with a 225-percent increase since the race’s first year in 2003, to an estimated 800,000 people who watched at least a portion of the 655-mile, six-day event in 2005. More than four million media impressions were generated in national and international publicity for the state, guaranteeing Georgia’s place on the international sports stage.
“In just three years the Tour de Georgia has not only set the standard as the top professional cycling stage race in North America, but it has also gained notoriety as a premier sporting event. Like the Tour de France, the Tour de Georgia showcases not only the best cyclists in the world, but serves as a rolling festival that
highlights some of Georgia’s most interesting places to visit. It is a shining example of how an event can combine elements of tourism and economic development to make a positive impact on our state,” said Craig Lesser, commissioner of the Georgia Department of Economic Development.
In addition, the 2005 Tour de Georgia received a statewide award last year for public relations excellence related to the Live Healthy Georgia Expo and promotions related to the Georgia Cancer Coalition, the official beneficiary of the Tour. The Georgia Chapter of the Public Relations Society of America awarded its Phoenix Award for best event/observance (seven or fewer days) to the Tour’s sponsor of the Expo, the Georgia Department of Human Resources, and its PR agency, GolinHarris, which coordinated and implemented the program. More than 68,000 visited the Live Healthy Georgia Expo and received valuable health information — a 30 percent increase from the 2004 Tour.
The Tour de Georgia was also named a finalist in two national sports award programs in 2005. In the 2005 SportsTravel Awards, presented by SportsTravel Magazine at the TEAMS 2005 Conference & Expo in December, the Tour was named one of the “Best Sports Event Series or Circuit” in the professional sporting event category. In addition, the Tour was voted runner-up as “Emerging Sports Property of the Year” by the 2005 Horizon Awards for Sports Business.
“In just a relatively short span of three years, we have built a tradition – so it is a very exciting time for the Tour de Georgia as we and our partners approach year four and beyond. Cycling continues to grow in popularity as both a spectator sport and a participant activity. As an event, the Tour de Georgia generates attention from across the U.S. and abroad for the elite level of competition that involves the best athletes in the world. And as a sports property, it is gaining recognition from communities and corporations as a successful return on investment and marketing platform,” said Chris Aronhalt, managing partner for Medalist Sports, the sports marketing company licensed to operate the Tour.
Soon after the completion of the 2005 Tour de Georgia, the Union Cycliste International (UCI), the world governing body for the sport of cycling, elevated the event rating from a 2.1 to its top Hors Classe (2.HC) rating, the highest outside of Europe. This makes the Tour de Georgia the only HC stage race in North America. The 2006 Tour de Georgia will be held April 18-23, beginning in Augusta, Ga. and ending in Alpharetta, Ga. Details of the 2006 are available at the official web site, <http://www.tourdegeorgia.com/” target=”_blank”>http://app.bronto.com/x/trackclick.php?id=19261318_e128bab1_98697&url=http://www.tourdegeorgia.com/>www.tourdegeorgia.com.
ABOUT THE TOUR DE GEORGIA
The Tour de Georgia is America’s premier, professional cycling event and rolling festival of community activities. The Tour is held annually in the spring with a varying route. It is sanctioned by the Union Cycliste Internationale (UCI) and USA Cycling (USAC) as a 2.HC rating, making the event one of the top stage races for elite athletes around the world. The 2005 Tour was won by Tom Danielson (USA) of the Discovery Channel Professional Cycling Team; champions from previous years include Lance Armstrong (USA) in 2004 and Chris Horner (USA) 2003. The Tour’s official beneficiary is the Georgia Cancer Coalition (GCC). The Tour de Georgia is owned by The Georgia Partnership for Economic Development (GPED) and is managed by Medalist Sports. Merchandise and the latest updates are available at the official website, <http://www.tourdegeorgia.com/” target=”_blank”>http://app.bronto.com/x/trackclick.php?id=19261318_e128bab1_98697&url=http://www.tourdegeorgia.com/>www.tourdegeorgia.com.
ABOUT THE GEORGIA CANCER COALITION
The Georgia Cancer Coalition leads Georgia’s comprehensive cancer initiative, uniting people and organizations to work together to save lives and reduce suffering from cancer. As a public-private partnership, the Coalition works to strengthen existing cancer related programs and create new initiatives that accelerate cancer prevention, early detection, and research and treatment to make the highest level of care accessible to all Georgians. The Georgia Cancer Coalition provides guidance and assistance for using Georgia’s resources in the fight to reverse the cancer mortality and incidence rates. The Coalition is the first of its kind in the nation and is fast becoming a national model. The official website is <http://www.georgiacancer.org/” target=”_blank”>http://app.bronto.com/x/trackclick.php?id=19261318_e128bab1_98697&url=http://www.georgiacancer.org/>www.georgiacancer.org.