The Tour de Georgia is on its last life line and is in need of major sponsors.  The Tour is one of the nation’s top professional cycling events.  It has had a six year run in Georgia before falling prey to the faltering economy.

The 2009 was canceled.  This past week, the 2010 was canceled as well.

There is a very real danger the race, which is estimated to pump $30 million-plus annually into the state economy, could vanish if it is not soon revived, Tour and national cycling officials agree.

Tour needs to find a sponsor that can pony up $500, 000 to $1 million.  It cost about $3.5 million to put on the 6 day race, 600 miles event.

ndrea Smith, spokeswoman for USA Cycling, said the Georgia race is widely considered a warm-up event for the annual Tour de France, the World Series of cycling. Her organization is the official governing body for competitive cycling in the U.S.

“It’s a big deal, not just in Georgia but on the national scene, ” she said. “We certainly hope it comes back. There are a lot of people in the cycling world rooting for it to come back.”

The Georgia Tour, along with similar races in California and Missouri, is considered one of the top three races in the nation, Smith said. Biking great Lance Armstrong won Georgia’s race in 2004, competed again in 2005 and has praised the event. Several hundred thousand spectators have viewed some part of the race each year it has been run.

Chrysler and AT&T had sponsored the Georgia race in the past, and the state’s Department of Economic Development had kicked in some seed money. AT&T was the title sponsor for the 2007 race, kicking in about $500, 000.

Hopefully the Tour in Georgia can find the necessary sponsor to continue the tradition and bring in some much needed revenue into the State.

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