This year will be ŠKODA AUTO’s eleventh year of being the official partner and official vehicle partner of the Tour de France. The core of ŠKODA’s activities at the most famous cycling event in the world consists of providing a vehicle fleet of around 250 ŠKODAs. A red ŠKODA Superb will be leading the way, serving as the ‘mobile control centre’ for Tour Director. This year’s Tour de France takes place from 5 to 27 July.
“ŠKODA’s involvement in the Tour de France over the past eleven years has been the crowning glory of our company’s diverse cycling sponsorship,” says Werner Eichhorn, ŠKODA Board Member for Sales and Marketing. “Our strong presence at the most famous cycling race in the world strengthens the image and long term reputation of the brand. Supporting Le Tour and cycling is more than a classic sponsorship deal – it is an affair of the heart for the whole enterprise. It was, after all, with bicycle production that our founding fathers Laurin und Klement first established our company.”
The 2014 Tour de France starts on 5 July in Leeds – the first three stages this year riding through England. After a total of 21 stages, the riders will reach the finishing line on the Champs-Elysees in Paris on July 27. As in previous years, ŠKODA is the partner of the ‘White Jersey’ for the best cyclist under 25.
The Czech manufacturer extended their sponsorship of Le Tour another five years to 2018. The agreement also includes sponsoring the Tour of Spain (La Vuelta) and other international cycling races.
The core of the Tour de France sponsorship this year will again be the strong ŠKODA fleet of vehicles. Around 250 cars – especially the ŠKODA Octavia Estate and ŠKODA Superb – will be used as support vehicles around clock. The shuttle fleet has played a very important role in ŠKODA’s involvement since the very beginning. Year on year, the vehicles drive around 2.8 million kilometres during their service in Le Tour. Since 2004, the ŠKODA shuttle fleet has covered almost 28 million kilometres – without breaking down once.
The ‘Red Car’ – the red ŠKODA Superb leading the cyclists – is widely visible to all the fans. Throughout Le Tour, the vehicle will be serving as a kind of mobile control centre. It is from here that Le Tour director will be giving the green light to start the race every morning, where he organizes the traffic movements around the peloton and communicates with the marshals. The vehicle has been fitted with extensive technical equipment for this purpose, including four radio channels, over which information is received and orders given.
In addition, the ‘Red Car’ is the only vehicle that can cross the finish line in each stage with the riders. The Superb has been painted ‘Corrida-Red’ for its use at the event.
Tour director Christian Prudhomme will be sitting in the back. “I love my Superb. It’s a fantastic car. I’m 1.90 metres tall, just like my driver. However, I can sit very comfortably in the back and even sit with my legs crossed. I’m especially looking forward to travelling under the huge panoramic roof.” For its use as the ‘Red Car’, the Superb has been specially fitted with a panoramic glass roof, which opens from the rear to the front at the touch of a button, allowing Prudhomme to stand up in the back.
ŠKODA will be backing the Tour de France sponsorship with a broad communications campaign. ŠKODA has developed a completely new site especially for the event: WeLoveCycling.com. The site features a host of exciting features, including live reports, films and snippets of information on the wider world of cycling. Cycling fans can also take part in competitions on the site, and even win a day in the peloton of the Tour de France. The brand will also be attracting a lot of attention on social media, facebook.com/skoda-cycling. You can also find more information at www.skoda-radsport.de.
The Tour de France is one of the world’s biggest sporting events. Only the football World Cup and the Olympic Games receive more attention. In 2013 12 million cycling fans cheered along the route, with a further 3.5 billion people from around the globe tuning in at home.