The Tour of California has announced that Nissan and Rapha has joined the roster of sponsors for the annual cycling classic.
For the second year in a row, Nissan has been named the official automotive sponsor of the Amgen Tour of California, America’s biggest road cycling race which will feature world-class cycling teams competing throughout the state of California over eight consecutive days from May 15-22. Nissan will provide more than 40 vehicles for the event, including lead, operation and medical vehicles, as well as VIP cars included within the official race entourage leading and following the riders’ peloton on the 800 mile course.
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Additionally, Nissan will also play a key role in the Lifestyle Festival, an interactive, free-to-the-public festival that will be located at the finish of each stage of the race. During the Lifestyle Festival, Nissan will invite spectators to experience the all-new Nissan LEAF, enter a Nissan LEAF sweepstakes, and participate in a bike challenge, as well as the opportunity to design a t-shirt. In addition, Chris Carmichael, elite cycling coach to Lance Armstrong, will be onsite at Stages 6 (Solvang) and 8 (Thousand Oaks) for photos, autographs and book signings. At Stage 7 (Mt Baldy), Nissan will be featured as the sole presenting sponsor.
“Nissan is excited to once again serve as the official vehicle of the Amgen Tour of California,” said Brian Carolin, senior vice president of sales and marketing at Nissan. “This event offers a unique opportunity to not only participate in America’s largest cycling event but to also reaffirm the company’s commitment to supporting healthy lifestyles. We’re taking it one step further this year by also introducing Innovation for Endurance – a great resource for those looking to get tips from leaders in the fitness industry.”
Nissan’s sponsorship of the Amgen Tour of California is directly integrated with the Innovation for Endurance program, which aims to help athletes take their performance to a whole new level through exclusive daily content showcasing the country’s best innovations in running, cycling, yoga, strength training and fitness. Visit www.facebook.com/InnovationForEndurance  for state-of-the-art tips from elite runner Ryan Hall; cycling coach Chris Carmichael; cycling champion Levi Leipheimer; and yoga master Tara Stiles.
Rapha has been named the official sportswear partner of the 2011 Amgen Tour of California, as announced today by AEG, presenter of the race. Under the partnership, Rapha will be the official merchandise partner for the race and will outfit key staff and on-air talent. Rapha has also created a number of exceptional videos documenting a team of Rapha riders traversing the select stages of the 2011 Amgen Tour of California. Videos from the project, titled the Rapha Continental, will stream on the race’s tour tracker, The Shack Tour Tracker Presented by Adobe. They are also available on the Rapha website www.rapha.cc/rapha-continental .
Additionally, and for the first time in race history, Rapha will be presenting the Lantern Rouge award each day. The Lantern Rouge award, which comes from the French “Red Lantern,” will go to the last rider who makes the time cut each day. That rider will be interviewed at the start line the following day.
“Rapha is thrilled to be part of the Amgen Tour of California and to have had a chance to celebrate the beauty of this prestigious tour and the state of California with our films,” said Slate Olson, General Manager of Rapha. “We applaud the Amgen Tour of California for honoring the ‘Lantern Rouge’ rider, a tradition of respecting the racers who suffer as much, if not more than the race winners, as they earn the respect of the crowd with their struggle to beat the time cut.”
Scheduled from May 15 – 22, the 2011 Amgen Tour of California will take 18 of the world’s top professional cycling teams from Lake Tahoe to Thousand Oaks through some of the state’s most picturesque roadways. At the end of the eight-day competition, the race will have visited 15 official start and finish Host Cities and cyclists will have traversed nearly 800 miles, ranging from flat roads to rolling hills to killer climbs.
“Rapha’s partnership with the Amgen Tour of California is a natural fit, given their passion for road racing and their commitment to creating outstanding cycling and cycling-inspired performance sportswear,” said Andrew Messick, president of AEG Sports. “They truly understand the needs of cyclists, and we are excited to have them as a partner of the race this year.”
The 2011 Amgen Tour of California will visit 15 Host Cities for official stage starts and finishes, while other cities along the route also will have the opportunity to witness the excitement of elite professional cycling. Stages for the 2011 Amgen Tour of California include:
Stage 1: Sunday, May 15 – South Lake Tahoe to North Lake Tahoe-Northstar at Tahoe Resort
Stage 2: Monday, May 16 – North Lake Tahoe-Squaw Valley USA to Sacramento
Stage 3: Tuesday, May 17 – Auburn to Modesto
Stage 4: Wednesday, May 18 – Livermore to San Jose
Stage 5: Thursday, May 19 – Seaside to Paso Robles
Stage 6: Friday, May 20 – Solvang Individual Time Trial
Stage 7: Saturday, May 21 – Claremont to Mt. Baldy
Stage 8: Sunday, May 22 – Santa Clarita to Thousand Oaks