Tour de Richelieu boost for SA cycling
12 September 2012
The press and invited guests, including top professional road cyclists, were on Wednesday treated to an exclusive preview of what a major new sponsorship agreement between Cycling South Africa and Richelieu will mean for road cycling in the country at a media launch held in Rosebank, Johannesburg.
Its aims and scope are large, and the Tour de Richelieu is being viewed by the cycling community as one of the most exciting developments in South African road cycling since the grand old Rapport Tour.
The primary objective of the Tour is to pave the way for full qualification for South African road cycling at the Rio Olympics in 2016.
It will encompass carefully selected, well-supported, existing high profile road cycling events in the major centres of South Africa. Through this initiative, Cycling South Africa aims to form partnerships and add value to the events, as opposed to competing with them.
The following events have already been included:
Cycling South Africa president William Newman gave the initiative his backing, saying: "This is a huge development for cycling in South Africa and we embrace Richelieu as a partner in assisting Cycling South Africa to develop and grow the sport.
"This sponsorship gives us an opportunity to lift the standard of our events and provide added exposure via the generous television coverage.
"With the plan to upgrade some of these events to UCI category status, it gives our local riders an opportunity for international exposure and at the same time an opportunity to accumulate valuable UCI points, which will improve our chances of World Champs qualification and ultimately Olympic Games qualification in 2016.
"We thank Richelieu for their support and look forward to working with them and the event organisers as we embark on this journey to Rio 2016 in pursuit of Olympic success. I encourage you all to be part of this magnificent journey with us."
Richelieu says it views the sponsorship as an opportunity to create greater enthusiasm in South Africa toward the sport of cycling, which is home to some of the world's largest mass participation races.
The sponsors believe that the sponsorship will not only attract a far wider audience to the sport, but also lead to an increase in the numbers of participants too.
Café de Richelieu
As part of their sponsorship, Richelieu has also committed to a concept known as Café de Richelieu, which is aimed at transforming events into social gatherings for participants and spectators alike by providing unique hospitality areas with a French look and feel, offering freshly brewed coffee, baguettes and croissants, followed by drinks at their bar facility later in the day.
The Tour de Richelieu will also have an Internet presence, providing athletes and the media with continuous coverage of events results and new developments through a dedicated media communications platform including www.tourderichelieu.com and the popular Facebook (Tour de Richelieu) and Twitter (@tourderichelieu) social media platforms.
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