HANOVER, Germany—Continental is underscoring its commitment to the development of high-tech racing bike tires by signing on as an official sponsorship partner of the Tour de France.
In a statement, Nikolai Setzer, head of Continental's global tire business, noted that nine teams competing in the Tour de France last year did so on Continental tires. Among them was the Tour winner Chris Froome.
"Through this move we are demonstrating our great tire manufacturing expertise in a unique environment of worldwide significance—a cycle race that not only demands the ultimate in safety but also calls for benchmark standards in terms of rolling resistance and weight."
The 5-year partnership takes effect Jan. 1 and runs through 2022. During this period, Continental said it would maintain high visibility throughout the tour. Additionally, all support vehicles—cars, vans and motorcycles—used through the Tour de France will be equipped with Continental tires.
"It is a great symbol for cycling that Continental wishes to be associated with the world's biggest bicycle race," Christian Prudhomme, general director of the Tour de France, said in a statement. "The commitment of A.S.O. in terms of safety at bicycle races, combined with Continental's research to develop ever more efficient tires, confirms the values and logic behind this partnership. The tire is the only point of contact between a bike and the road; it is therefore a key element in the practice of this sport."