Specialized is to take over as neutral service provider at the Tour of Britain after signing a three-year deal with race organisers SweetSpot. As part of the new partnership, the California-based brand will also provide support at the five Tour Rides taking place in Britain this year.
Three vehicles will provide support to the Tour of Britain itself, which takes place in September, with full details of the route unveiled last week. The cars will be equipped with Specialized Tarmac bikes and Roval wheels with Turbo Pro tyres.
The company has been involved with the race since it was relaunched in 2004 as supplier of bikes to some of the teams taking part – the final stage of last year’s edition was won by Mark Cavendish, then with HTC-Highroad, riding a Specialized Venge.
Tour of Britain race director Mick Bennett said: “As The Tour continues to grow we are looking forward to working with such an established and high-profile brand as Specialized on the 2012 event and going forwards.”
James Booth, PR & Sports Marketing Manager at Specialized, commented: “The idea of becoming more involved in this event in the Olympic year and especially with the grand finale of the race finishing in Surrey was one than Specialized couldn’t refuse.
“It is a really exciting progression for the brand as a team sponsor to now become an equipment sponsor of the event and continues to show our support of domestic racing as well as World Tour racing.”
Shimano provided neutral service support to the race from 2006 to 2008 through a deal between the organisers and UK distributor Madison, and from 2009 to last year the role was undertaken by SRAM/Felt via Saddleback.
Born in Scotland, Simon moved to London aged seven and now lives in the Oxfordshire Cotswolds with his miniature schnauzer, Elodie. He fell in love with cycling one Saturday morning in 1994 while living in Italy when Milan-San Remo went past his front door. A daily cycle commuter in London back before riding to work started to boom, he's been news editor at road.cc since 2009. Handily for work, he speaks French and Italian. He doesn't get to ride his Colnago as often as he'd like, and freely admits he's much more adept at cooking than fettling with bikes.