ATLANTA, GA (BRAIN)—Organizers have canceled the Tour de Georgia cycling race for 2009 after failing to secure sponsorship dollars in the face of a looming state budget deficit and belt tightening by many corporate sponsors.
The board of directors for the race, which has become one of the country's top professional cycling events since its launch in 2003, said the event would resume in 2010 stronger than ever.
"We have decided to use 2009 as a time to plan ahead and properly position the Tour de Georgia to make the best use of the new partnerships we forged during the 2008 Tour de Georgia Presented by AT&T, such as our relationships with Blue Cross Blue Shield and Road Atlanta," said Tom Saddlemire, a member of the board of directors of the Tour de Georgia Foundation, Inc. "The planning process for the Tour de Georgia requires a tremendous amount of time and effort and we wanted to give all of our partners enough time to plan and allocate their resources to take full advantage of the event. Therefore, we will skip 2009 and the Board will petition USAC and the UCI for the Tour de Georgia's return to the world calendar in 2010."
Over the course of six years, the Tour de Georgia has attracted 3.2 million spectators, many of whom traveled to Georgia from out of state, and generated a direct economic impact totaling over $186 million. The 2008 Tour de Georgia yielded more than $38.6 million in direct economic impact for the state.