Aviva, the UK's largest insurer, has announced it is taking on the title sponsorship of the most prestigious male and female professional cycling road races in Britain. The races will be renamed the Aviva Tour of Britain and the Aviva Women's Tour as Aviva takes on the sponsorship from Friends Life, which became part of the Aviva group earlier this month.
At the launch event in Piccadilly Circus, the new Yellow Jerseys for both races were unveiled. Among the guests there to mark Aviva's new sponsorship were Olympic champions Dani King and Chris Boardman and Chief Executive of race organisers Sweetspot, Hugh Roberts.
Aviva already has a long history of supporting a variety of different sports and currently has sponsorship deals in place with Premiership Rugby, Norwich City Football Club and the Aviva Stadium in Ireland.
Dani King, Olympic gold medal winner in the 3km Team Pursuit at London 2012, said:
"Taking part in the first ever Women's Tour last year was incredible. To see so many people out on the streets to support the riders was a real buzz and I think this year's race is going to be even better. To have Aviva on board as title sponsor, with their history of sport sponsorship, can only be a good thing for cycling.”
Chris Boardman, gold medal winner at the 1992 Olympics, said:
"Last year I did a lot of work around both these races, but particularly the Tour of Britain. The race helped to elevate cycling to a whole new level, and a large part of that has to go down to the sponsors.
"The introduction of a household name like Aviva as title sponsor gives the event a further boost. I was at the final stage of the Tour of Britain last year when it was a circuit around central London and the atmosphere was incredible. I have a feeling it's going to be even better this year.”
Karen Burrell, Marketing Delivery Director at Aviva, said:
"Cycling is a passion that has gripped the towns and cities across the country and we're proud to be sponsoring both the Aviva Women's Tour and the Aviva Tour of Britain. Aviva actively supports the communities we operate in and we have a long history of successful sporting sponsorships which we are now looking to build on with cycling. We are excited about how we can bring this partnership to life both for our customers and our employees.”
Hugh Roberts, Chief Executive of Sweetspot, the race organisers, said:
"Having a title sponsor last year helped us to take both events to a new level, reaching more communities and spectators than ever before. Now we have Aviva on board and I think we're going to see something really special. Last year we had some of the biggest names in cycling taking part in the Tour of Britain, like Sir Bradley Wiggins, Mark Cavendish and Michal Kwiatkowski and we expect the same profile of riders to take part this year.
"For the Women's Tour, last year's race was the first one, but already it is being held up as an example to cycling organisations around the world of how a female cycling event can be a success. Making it the Aviva Women's Tour will only enhance that and we are looking forward to an even bigger and better event this June”
The sponsorship deal not only takes in the Aviva Tour of Britain and the Aviva Women's Tour, but also the Aviva London Cycle, which takes place on same day as the final stage of the Aviva Tour of Britain, and the Aviva Tour Ride, a sportive in Worcestershire in October.