by Mark Zalewski, North American Editor
This year's fifth Tour de Georgia will be a day longer, expanding from six days to an entire week-long event, according to race organisers. "It's the culmination of the event, going into year five now, it's an improvement that is due," Medalist Sports' Chris Aronhalt told Cyclingnews. "It goes back to the support from the community. We had more than twenty communities apply to host, showing that the support is there."
"Logistically, it gives us more freedom to highlight more of the state," he continued. "One of the improvements or excitements is the increase in the daily festivals and local celebrations. " The race will add the day at the beginning of the week, beginning on Monday, April 16 -- though where the race will begin is still unknown. "We plan on making our full route announcement next week," said Aronhalt, who was reached in Missouri in between meetings with host officials for the new Tour of Missouri. "We are seeing that there really is that undercurrent of cycling activity in Missouri," he commented.
The expansion to a full week comes without the announcement of a full title sponsor, with the Georgia Ford Dealers announcing last year that their one-year sponsorship of the event would not be renewed. However, Aronhalt believes that Medalist's announcement of the entire route next week illustrates the confidence they have in their current sponsors, as well as finding a title sponsor in time. "We do have several discussions in the works, not only title but other levels. But the confidence to announce the route shows our confidence in our sponsors."
When asked for a hint as to what is coming in next week's route announcement Aronhalt was quiet. When asked whether the time trial would be as difficult as last year's Lookout Mountain route, he did say, "The TT route will again feature the north Georgia mountains."