At an impressive media launch held at 54 on Bath, Tsogo Sun’s newly opened hotel in Rosebank, Johannesburg, the press and invited guests including top professional road cyclists were treated to an exclusive preview of the latest and most certainly one of the largest sponsor partnerships recently concluded, between Cycling South Africa and Richelieu.

The official announcement of the Tour de Richelieu has been hailed as one of the most exciting developments within road cycling in South Africa since the grand old Rapport Tour.

The primary objective of the Tour de Richelieu is to pave the way to full qualification for South African Road Cycling at the Rio Olympics in 2016. Tour de Richelieu will encompass carefully selected existing high profile road cycling events, which are currently well supported races situated across the major centres of South Africa. It is through this initiative that Cycling SA wish to form partnerships and add value to these events as opposed to competing with them.

The following events have already been included:

  • Amashova – October 2012 – KwaZulu-Natal
  • The Fast One – January 2013 – Gauteng
  • The VW Herald – February 2013 – Port Elizabeth
  • Ride for Sight – February 2013 – Gauteng
  • Medallion – February 2013 – Western Cape
  • SA Elite Road Championships – February/March 2013 – Mpumalanga
  • Maluti Challenge – March 2013 – Free State (pending)
  • SA Masters Road Championships – April 2013 – Oudtshoorn

Positive endorsement from Cycling SA president William Newman confirms. “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 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 views the sponsorship as an opportunity to create greater enthusiasm in South Africa toward the sport of cycling to the same level that is enjoyed by the world’s greatest cycle event, the Tour de France. Richelieu also believe that the sponsorship will allow for a wider audience of South Africans to enjoy the sport not only as spectators but with the ability to participate as well, which will in turn attract fresh participants. Richelieu look forward to growing the sport together with Cycling South Africa.

As an addition to the presenting rights, which are included in the sponsorship by Richelieu, the sponsor has also committed to a wonderful social concept known as Café de Richelieu.

Café de Richelieu is a first in terms of transforming events into a social gathering for athletes and supporting spectators alike, providing a unique hospitality area with a French look and feel offering freshly brewed coffee, baguettes and croissants whilst serving drinks by means of their bar facility later in the day.

Tour de Richelieu will provide athletes and media with continuous coverage of events results and new developments through a dedicated media communications platform including www.tourderichelieu.com and the ever-popular Facebook (Tour de Richelieu) and Twitter (@tourderichelieu) social media platforms.