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Statesboro named host venue for ‘08 Tour de Georgia

    ATLANTA — From the salty marshes and ocean shoreline of the Georgia coast to the majestic skyline of the Blue Ridge Mountains, 12 Georgia communities — including Statesboro — have been selected as the official Host Venues for the sixth annual Tour de Georgia, scheduled April 21-27, 2008. The introduction of these Host Venues was announced today by Lt. Governor Casey Cagle at a press conference at Children’s Healthcare of Atlanta at Scottish Rite. Cagle also recognized the Aflac Cancer Center and Blood Disorders Service of Children’s as the new beneficiary for the Tour next year.
    “Today is an exciting day,” said Cagle. “As we entered into this sixth season of the Tour de Georgia, we promised to revitalize the event, and we are well on our way. With the selection of our 12 Host Venues, including two mountain stages and the addition of the Team Time Trial, we are taking the steps necessary to continue strengthening the Tour de Georgia- ensuring it remains North America's premier cycling race. This April, we will welcome the world to Georgia. The addition of the AFLAC Cancer Center at Children's Healthcare as a beneficiary is a very important move for the Tour. This event is not just a bike race. The heart of this race will be about giving back.”
    Five new communities will host the Tour for the first time — Road Atlanta/Braselton, Statesboro, Suwanee/Gwinnett Co., Tybee Island, and Washington. Savannah hosted the overall start of the inaugural Tour de Georgia in 2003. Other returning Host Venues include Atlanta (2003, 2007), Augusta (2005, 2006), Blairsville (2004-2006), Brasstown Bald Mountain/Towns Co. (2004-2007), Dahlonega (2004-2006), and Gainesville (2003, 2005).
    The Tour de Georgia will return for a second consecutive campaign as a seven-day professional race and maintains its position on the international cycling calendar as a major tune-up for July’s Tour de France. The Tour de Georgia continues to be the longest weeklong stage race in North America with over 650 miles of scenic byways and highways across the state.
    It is also one of the highest ranked stage races outside of Europe with a 2.HC rating from the Union Cycliste Internationale (international governing body of cycling) and is one of the top races on the USA Cycling Professional Tour.
    “The Tour de Georgia is a race I love because of the amazing fans and how well it fits in with my racing schedule. Being the best young rider in 2006 was great, but winning the whole race in 2007 was the highlight of my racing career.
    “I am always asking my directors to do more races in the U.S. and I plan to be back again in April,” said 2007 Tour de Georgia champion Janez Brajkovic, racing in 2008 for the Astana Pro Cycling Team.
    The 2007 Tour included 120 athletes from 23 countries. Fifteen professional cycling teams from around the world, each with eight athletes, will be extended special invitations to participate in the event by Medalist Sports.
    By January 2008, an announcement is expected to describe the details of the projected 650-mile route and the top teams accepting invitations.
    Since 2003 the Tour de Georgia has attracted 2.8 million spectators and generated over $148 million in economic impact for the state of Georgia.     The event aligned with the Georgia Cancer Coalition in its first six years, to raise both awareness and revenue across the state.
    In 2008 the official local beneficiary will be with the Aflac Cancer Center and Blood Disorders Service of Children’s.
    “It is virtually impossible to explain how important events like Tour de Georgia are to the children of Atlanta and the surrounding southeastern region,” stated Dr. William G. Woods, Director of the Aflac Cancer Center and Blood Disorders Service of Children’s. “Philanthropic events and organizations make it possible for our staff of physicians and nurses to fight pediatric cancer and blood disorders and get kids back to being kids.”
    Details for each of the seven stages, including route details, maps, and recommended viewing locations, are being planned by Medalist Sports.
    All information will be posted on the official website, www.tourdegeorgia.com.

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