Watched by millions of excited cycling fans across the globe, the 103rd Tour de France covered more than 3,500 kilometres through ‘La Grande Nation’ over a three-week period and included 28 climbs, many of which were extremely steep. In keeping with tradition, the finish line was on the magnificent Parisian boulevard. Christopher Froome confidently wore the yellow jersey en route to Paris and his name is therefore now immortalised in the winner’s list of the prestigious cycle race for the third time.
As in the previous year, ŠKODA sponsored the Tour de France’s green jersey for the winner of the points classification, which was awarded to the Slovakian rider Peter Sagan for the fifth consecutive time. All four of the Tour de France jerseys winners’ trophies were designed by ŠKODA and made in the Czech Republic. The unique 60-cm-tall pieces, each weighing four kilograms, were produced by the well-known Czech glassmaker Lasvit in Nový Bor. Their emotive design skilfully captures the shape of a wheel, thereby evoking ŠKODA’s roots – the company’s history began 121 years ago with the manufacture of bicycles.
This year, the brand was constantly leading from the front during the three-week-long Tour de France. The ŠKODA SUPERB carrying the Tour Director, Christian Prudhomme, was once again at the front of the race as the ‘Red Car’ and led the peloton in 21 stages to Paris. Fittingly, the SUPERB hatchback bore the striking Corrida Red paintwork. The panoramic glass roof is one of its most important features and can be opened from the second row of seats at the push of a button – meaning that Tour Director Christian Prudhomme was able to stand upright in the rear with the roof open and had a clear view of the peloton before starting a stage. Furthermore, the SUPERB comes with numerous technical features that make it ideal in its role as the Tour de France’s mobile control centre. The hatchback can, for example, receive several radio channels, allowing the Tour Director to gather information and subsequently issue race- or safety-related instructions.
As the official main sponsor and vehicle partner of the world’s most famous cycling race, the long-established Czech brand also provided 250 escort vehicles as well as more than 50 team cars. The ŠKODA fleet has been the centrepiece of the company’s activities during the Tour de France for many years. The brand’s fleet of cars clocked up approximately 2.8 million kilometres during the three-week-long race and since 2004, the fleet’s overall distance covered in the Tour de France has reached more than 30 million kilometres.
ŠKODA provided a very special highlight during the last stage from Chantilly to Paris. The new ŠKODA KODIAQ was presented to the public for the very first time. The modern SUV, with excellent all-round qualities, will celebrate its exhibition premiere in October at the Paris Motor Show and will make its market debut at the beginning of 2017. The ŠKODA KODIAQ accompanied the highly acclaimed Tour winners on the closely watched last stage of the Tour de France on their way to the Champs-Élysées and cut an impressive figure on the magnificent Parisian boulevard in its red, grey and black camouflage.
The brand’s commitment to cycling demonstrates ŠKODA’s special relationship with bicycles, which marked the beginning of the brand’s history. In 1895 – 121 years ago – Václav Laurin and Václav Klement founded a bicycle factory in the Bohemian town of Mladá Boleslav, now the brand’s headquarters. Just ten years later, the ‘Voiturette A’ was the first motor car to roll out of the young company’s workshop. In 1925, Laurin & Klement merged with ŠKODA.
Nowadays, ŠKODA is involved as the ‘engine of cycling’ at many levels and this year, was the official sponsor and vehicle partner of the Tour de France for the 13th time. In 2016, ŠKODA took centre stage for the second time as the partner of the green jersey, which is worn by the winner of the points classification. As in previous years, ŠKODA also supports the Spanish cycling Tour (‘La Vuelta’).