Although the fate of the Tour de Georgia had been in question recently, organisers announced Wednesday that it will happen as scheduled from April 16-22, 2007. The 2.HC category race will be contested by 15 teams over 1,073 kilometres (667 miles), making it the longest stage race in the US.
In early March, Cyclingnews reported the Tour's future was uncertain because organisers had yet to replace last year's title sponsor, the Georgia Ford Dealers' Association, who had declined further sponsorship last June. At that time, Chris Aronhalt, Managing Partner of Medalist Sports and Executive Director for the Tour de Georgia, remained optimistic but put out an urgent call for additional sponsorship funds.
In a statement released Wednesday, he said, "On behalf of the Tour's Board of Directors (Georgia Partnership of Economic Development), the Georgia Cancer Coalition and Medalist Sports, we are genuinely appreciative of the numerous individuals and corporations who responded to the Tour's call to action for additional support.
"This is a powerful reflection of the importance of the Tour de Georgia to Georgia's tourism economy, to our corporate partners and host communities, and to the international cycling community. While we continue to explore additional opportunities for fundraising, we are confident and committed to making this race a reality for Georgia, for cancer awareness and for the global sport of cycling."
The Tour now lists twelve host community partners, and the Georgia Department of Economic Development (GDEcD) as a presenting sponsor. Last year's Tour was won by Floyd Landis, then riding for Phonak Hearing Systems. Landis will not contest the Tour this year pending an outcome to an alleged doping case.
The Tour of Georgia stages are listed below.
Stage 1: Monday, April 16 - Peachtree City to Macon
Stage 2: Tuesday, April 17 - Thomaston to Rome
Stage 3: Wednesday, April 18 - Rome to Chattanooga, Tennessee
Stage 4: Thursday, April 19 - Chickamauga/Walker County to Lookout Mountain (Individual Time Trial)
Stage 5: Friday, April 20 - Dalton to Brasstown Bald Mountain/Towns County
Stage 6: Saturday, April 21 - Lake Lanier Islands/Hall County to Stone Mountain Park/Dekalb Country
Stage 7: Sunday, April 22 - Atlanta (circuit race)