Clothing firm takes over from Halfords as sponsor of 11-race event which starts in mid-May

Cycle clothing firm Pearl Izumi has this morning been unveiled as the new title sponsor of the Tour Series, replacing Halfords. The 11-race competition, which begins in Kirkcaldy on Tuesday 14 May, will now be known as the Pearl Izumi Tour Series.

Dominic Langan, CEO of Madison which distributes Pearl Izumi in the UK, said: "Since 1950 Pearl Izumi have been innovators in the design and construction of performance apparel and footwear for athletes who depend on uncompromising gear.

"The Tour Series provides an ideal platform in the UK both nationally and at a local level to support our independent specialist retail customers and to communicate the core values of the Pearl Izumi brand to an interested consumer."

Alastair Grant, Commercial Director of Tour Series organisers SweetSpot Group, added: “We are delighted that Pearl Izumi are joining us to be title sponsors for The Tour Series in 2013, and look forward to their support for what promises to be the biggest and best Series to date. It is particularly pleasing to be renewing our relationship with Madison, with whom we have worked with closely on The Tour of Britain in the past.

“This year’s Pearl Izumi Tour Series is shaping up to be highly competitive with ten top teams taking part, and eleven great venues across England, Scotland and Wales for spectators to come along to.”

Confirmed dates for the 2013 Pearl Izumi Tour Series are:

Round 1   Tuesday 14th May     Kirkcaldy
Round 2   Thursday 16th May    Durham
Round 3   Tuesday 21st May     Stoke-on-Trent
Round 4   Friday 24th May      Aberystwyth
Round 5   Tuesday 28th May     Torquay
Round 6   Tuesday 30th May     Colchester
Round 7   Tuesday 4th June     Redditch
Round 8   Thursday 6th June    Canary Wharf
Round 9   Tuesday 11th June    Woking
Round 10  Thursday 13th June   Aylsham
Round 11  Friday 14th June     Ipswich

If you’ve ever wondered where the Pearl Izumi name comes from, here’s an explanation from the Madison website about the company’s origins:

Pearl Izumi was founded in 1950 in Tokyo by a devoted father who wanted to produce Japan’s first bicycle racing apparel for his son, a promising racer. He took time researching the best technical clothing for his son with a dedication and determination that underlines the company today.

‘Pearl Izumi’ meaning the gem - ‘pearl’ - and an area of Japan known for its clear water -  ‘Izumi’ – can be literally translated to mean ‘fountain of pearls’ and is a metaphor for the quality and technicality of Pearl Izumi’s sports apparel line.

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.