SkodaAuto is entering the Tour de France for the first time this year…but on four wheels, not two! Skoda is perhaps more used to mountain runs and hill climbs when competing in the World Rally Championships but this year, Skoda will be entering the Tour de France to complete the 20-stage, 3,395km, at a more leisurely pace – as the Official Course Car.
The agreement between the Amaury Sport Organisation, organiser of the Tour de France, and Škoda Auto will run for the next four years and includes 11 bicycle races organised by the A.S.O., in addition to the Tour de France. Skoda has also become the sponsor of the White Jersey that is awarded to the best Tour de France junior racer, no more than 25 years old in the year of the race.
Skoda began manufacturing bicycles in 1900, shortly before the first ever Tour de France in 1903 and moved into the automotive industry in 1905 with the Voiturette. The official Tour de France fleet will be made up of Skoda models during the next four years.
The 91st Tour de France will run this year from 3 – 25 July, 22 teams will take place, 198 riders in total and 15 million spectators lining the roads. The Tour de France is ranked third in viewer ratings, right behind the Olympic Games and the World Soccer Championship.Published 11 March 2004