2006 Tour de Georgia Announces Route,
Including 12 Host Cities
Stages to Include Epic Mountain Climbs and Time Trial into Chattanooga
Six days of world-class, professional bicycle racing and community festivals will place 12 Southeastern cities in two states in the global spotlight next April. Highlights of the fourth edition of the Tour de Georgia, taking place April 18-23, 2006, will include three new host cities, inclusion of Chattanooga, Tennessee and the legendary climb up Brasstown Bald Mountain.
As North America's only Hors Classe (2.HC) professional cycling stage race, the Tour de Georgia will begin in Augusta, Ga. on Tuesday, April 18 and culminate the 650-plus miles of racing with its grand finale in Alpharetta, Ga. on Sunday, April 23. The race will return to the Georgia communities of Macon, Fayetteville, Rome, Dalton, Dahlonega, Blairsville/Union County, Brasstown Bald Mountain/Towns County, and Alpharetta as Host Cities for official stage start and finish lines. New Host Cities for 2006 include Chick-amauga/Walker County, Ga., Chattanooga, Tenn., and Cumming/Forsyth County, Ga.
"The Tour de Georgia is a showcase event for our state and continues to gain momentum each year. For a full week in April, all 11 of the host cities in Georgia, our friends to the north in Chattanooga, and all the communities in between, will partner together for festivals and events which add to the positive economic impact created by the Tour de Georgia," said Georgia Governor Sonny Perdue.
Competitors in the Tour de Georgia will encounter familiar territory during the first two stages of the race, as they cross the Historic South region and pedal along the rolling terrain of the South Metro Atlanta area. Stages three through five incorporate the mountains of north Georgia, where the beautiful Blue Ridge meets the panoramic Appalachians. The final stage will continue to challenge the professional peloton as it passes through the rolling foothills in the North Metro Atlanta area.
The Individual Time Trial, a race against the clock, will incorporate the imposing plateau of Lookout Mountain. The ITT will start in Chickamauga, Ga. (Walker County), rich in Civil War history, and end in the outdoor playground of Chattanooga, Tenn., the first time the Tour de Georgia has ventured across state borders.
Details for each of the six stages, including mileage, elevation profiles, Sprint lines, and King of the Mountain climbs, are in the final planning process. Links are provided at the current web site, www.tourdegeorgia.com, for individuals to plan trips to the Tour or register to become a volunteer. New information regarding stage details and Host City festivities will be released in the coming weeks.
"We are fortunate to partner with the experience and local leadership of our host communities, as they have demonstrated a tremendous ability to entertain huge crowds and provide a safe environment for the world's best athletes. Three of our host cities are new to the Tour de Georgia this year, and we are excited to bring the race to these vibrant communities. Having partners like the Georgia State Patrol and the Georgia Department of Transportation to guarantee a safe route, along with the Georgia Department of Economic Development (GDEcD) to assist in the promotion of the event, are vital to the Tour's continued success. This is truly a partnership," said Chris Aronhalt, managing partner of Medalist Sports, the sports marketing company licensed to operate the Tour and manage route planning.
GDEcD, the state's sales and marketing arm, has been a presenting partner of the Tour de Georgia since the inaugural event in 2003. As part of its 2006 commitment to the event, GDEcD will include Tour de Georgia messaging and information in its regional marketing materials and interactive promotions aimed to communicate the state's resources and bold spirit to its travel customers.
"The Tour de Georgia has become a magnificent invitation to sports enthusiasts from across the United States and abroad to visit our region. We have seen it attract a diverse range of tourists and businesses to experience all Georgia has to offer, from diverse recreational opportunities, music history, film legacy, to historic sites all along the route," said Craig Lesser, commissioner of the Georgia Department of Economic Development. "The slight modifications to the route each year allow returning visitors to see different parts of the state, while at the same time allowing the tremendous enthusiasm that accompanies this event to spread to new communities."
Fifteen professional cycling teams from around the world, each with eight athletes, will be extended special invitations to participate in the Tour de Georgia. UCI Pro Tour teams that compete in Europe, such as the Discovery Channel Professional Cycling Team (USA), Team Phonak (Switzerland), Team CSC (Denmark), Team Gerolsteiner (Germany) and others, are expected to receive an invitation to return to the Tour de Georgia. With a field in 2005 of professional athletes from 24 countries, the Tour expects a formal announcement of participating teams in early 2006.
The Tour de Georgia continues to be more than a tune-up to the Tour de France. For the Georgian population, the Tour spreads the message about a different race the battle against cancer. The Tour continues its partnership with the Georgia Cancer Coalition (GCC) to support its objectives and messages of clinical trials and survivorship.
"As one of the largest, annual sporting events in the state, the Tour de Georgia generates a tremendous amount of publicity for the State and our local communities. Georgians can be proud that this is also the largest platform for the Georgia Cancer Coalition to spread the message of the importance of living a healthy lifestyle in order to prevent cancer. By partnering with the Tour, we encourage all Georgians to help our friends and neighbors and work together to reduce human suffering and untimely deaths attributed to cancer," said Bill Todd, president and CEO of the Georgia Cancer Coalition
Information about the Georgia Cancer Coalition will be available at each Host City before and during the event. As part of the finish line areas in Macon, Rome, Chattanooga, Dahlonega, Brasstown Bald Mountain and Alpharetta, the Live Healthy Georgia Expo will have exhibits and agencies providing cancer education and screening opportunities in an entertaining and interactive platform. The Tour de Georgia continues to be the largest multi-day marketing program utilized by the GCC.
Stages and Host Cities - 2006 Tour de Georgia
Stage 1: Tuesday, April 18 - Augusta, Ga. to Macon, Ga.
- Augusta: Third year to host the Tour, with a Stage Start venue in 2003 and Overall Start in 2005
- Macon: Fourth consecutive year as a host city, having participated as a Stage Finish and Stage Start in 2003, a one-day Stage Circuit in 2004, and a Stage Finish in 2005
Stage 2: Wednesday, April 19 - Fayetteville, Ga. to Rome, Ga.
- Fayetteville: Returns to the Tour for a second consecutive year as a Stage Start
- Rome: Fourth consecutive year as a host city, having participated as a Stage Finish in 2003, 2004 and 2005, and having hosted the Individual Time Trial in 2004 and 2005
Stage 3: Thursday, April 20 - Individual Time Trial from Chickamauga/Walker Co., Ga. to Chattanooga,Tenn.
- Chickamauga/Walker Co.: Hosts a Tour stage for the first time, with the start of the ITT
- Chattanooga: First city outside the state of Georgia to host the Tour, with the finish of the ITT
Stage 4: Friday, April 21 - Dalton, Ga. to Dahlonega, Ga.
- Dalton: Fourth consecutive year as a Stage Start and home to professional cyclist Saul Raisin
- Dahlonega: Third consecutive year as a Stage Finish, and bringing its renowned Bear in the Square festival to Tour fans
Stage 5: Saturday, April 22 - Blairsville/Union Co., Ga. to Brasstown Bald Mountain/Towns Co., Ga.
- Blairsville/Union County: Returns for second consecutive year as a Stage Start
- Brasstown Bald Mountain/Towns County: A third consecutive stint as a Stage Finish, with its epic finish on The Bald, the highest peak in Georgia, and compared to the Alpe d'Huez of the Tour de France
Stage 6: Sunday, April 23 - Cumming/Forsyth Co., Ga. to Alpharetta, Ga.
- Cumming/Forsyth County: Inaugural Stage host for the Tour, with a Stage Start on the final day, in conjunction with the Taste of Forsyth; was a Sprint line host community in 2004 and 2005
- Alpharetta: A third year as the Overall Finish host city, with its signature four-mile finishing circuit
ABOUT THE TOUR DE GEORGIA
The Tour de Georgia is North 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 (highest ranked event in North America), 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, 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 www.georgiacancer.org.
The Georgia Department of Economic Development (GDEcD) is the state's sales and marketing arm, the lead agency for attracting new business investment, encouraging the expansion of existing industry and small businesses, locating new markets for Georgia products, attracting tourists to Georgia, and promoting the state as a location for film, video and music projects, as well as planning and mobilizing state resources for economic development. For more information about visiting Georgia, the state's newly redesigned website is a helpful and interactive resource www.georgia.org.
ABOUT MEDALIST SPORTS
Medalist Sports is a full-service international sports marketing company. The partners have experience in all facets of the successful management and promotion of world-class sporting events in the United States, Australia and China. Medalist Sports specializes in the planning, promotion and management of multi-day, multi-jurisdiction sports and special events. Current clients include the Tour de Georgia, Amgen Tour of California and USA Cycling, Inc (as a license-holder of the U.S. Professional Cycling Championships). Medalist Sports' headquarters are located south of metro Atlanta at P.O. Box 415, Tyrone, GA 30290. The company website is www.medalistsports.com.
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