Tour de France 2014 gets underway in Leeds today – and will be led for the 11th time in a row by a big red Skoda.
The firm is once again official vehicle partner AND an official partner for le Tour, with the course director heading the field in their red Skoda Superb mobile control centre. Here, green lights for the race starts will be given, messages to marshals will be sent and traffic around the peloton organised. This is why it has no less than four radio channels built in.
Skoda announces Tour de France special editions
The ‘Red Car’ is the only vehicle allowed to cross the line with the leaders at the end of each stage: Skoda will again be a guaranteed Tour de France frontrunner throughout…
Skoda and cycling: since 1895
Skoda takes its involvement in cycling and the Tour de France as seriously as you’d expect for an official car supplier and partner. It supplies around 250 cars, mainly Skoda Octavia Estates (a bit like MR’s own long-termer) and Superbs. Rather amazingly, the firm says they’ll collectively cover more than 1.7 million miles throughout the Tour.
Since it began supporting Tour de France, Skoda has covered over 17 million miles on duty – “without breaking down once” says the firm proudly.
“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, Skoda 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.
“It was, after all, with bicycle production that our founding fathers Laurin und Klement first established our company.”
A long term reputation boost, but also a brilliant platform for brand visibility: only the football World Cup and Olympic Games are bigger sporting events than the Tour. 12 million cycling fans watched the 2013 event live from the stages – and no fewer than 3.5 billion watched it on TV…
Tour de France race director: happy
Christian Prudhomme is race director of the 2014 Tour de France. And is quite happy he’s in the famously-huge Skoda Superb. “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.” This isn’t Prudhomme being PR-friendly to a key Tour sponsor either: Skoda’s fitted a fully-opening panoramic sunroof that allows him to stand up in the back and, where necessary, bark out instructions…
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