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Skoda drives forward with Tour de France

Czech automobile manufacturer Skoda has said it has reached an agreement on the renewal of its top-tier sponsorship of cycling race the Tour de France for another five years through 2018.

Skoda first partnered road cycling’s annual showpiece event in 2004 and will continue to provide the race with tactical support vehicles as a club partner.

Skoda Auto spokesman Tomas Kubik told the AFP news agency that the new five-year deal with Tour organiser Amaury Sport Organisation, spanning 2014 to 2018, will be presented at the Geneva Motor Show on March 5.

“Cycling is in common with ice hockey and motor sports a pillar of the sponsorship strategy of Skoda Auto,” Kubik said. “The Tour de France is the third most watched competition in the world (after the Olympics and the Fifa World Cup).”

The initial agreement between Skoda and ASO was the last time the Tour de France altered the firmly established top level of its sponsorship roster, which also features supermarket chain Carrefour, food conglomerate Nestle and French bank LCL.

Nestle renewed the tie-up between the Tour de France and its mineral water brand Vittel in November last year and this week did likewise for its sports nutrition product PowerBar.

LCL is also on board until 2018, while Carrefour’s current agreement expires after this year’s race. The 101st edition of the Tour de France begins with the Grand Depart in Leeds, England on July 5.