July 2nd saw the Tour de France Grand Depart from Mont St Michel in France. 198 riders with 3 gruelling weeks and thousands of kilometres of bike riding ahead of them, with just 2 rest days, set off in unison.
For the 13th consecutive year Škoda were the official sponsors of the event. Perhaps most notable of the 250 supplied cars is the ‘red car’ of the Tour Commissaire, Christian Prudhomme, which was a specially modified Superb. 10 of the teams also used Skoda Octavias and Superbs as their team cars.
For the second year running, Škoda were also sponsors of the prestigious Green jersey, or ‘maillot vert’, worn by the leader in the exciting sprint category.
This year, the event ended on the iconic Champs Elysees in Paris, with Kenyan born Chris Froome winning, and Slovakian Peter Sagan taking home best Sprinter prize and the coveted green jersey. The trophies were once again designed by Škoda too. The exclusive sculptures – made in the Czech Republic – were manufactured by the Czech company Lasvit. The 60-centimetre-high trophies, each weighing four kilograms, impressed with their emotive shape that skilfully captures the shape of a wheel. In doing so, the designers pay homage to the beginnings of the Škoda brand: in 1895, Václav Laurin and Václav Klement founded a bicycle factory in the Bohemian town of Mladá Boleslav, the headquarters of the brand. Just ten years later, the ‘Voiturette A’ was the first automobile to roll out of the young company’s workshop.
The real highlight of the 2016 event was he first public showing of the highly anticipated Škoda Kodiaq. The brand’s large SUV, camouflaged in red, grey and black, drove in the support vehicle fleet and completed a total of six laps of honour around the Champs-Élysées, with 1987 Tour winner Stephen Roche at the wheel. Kodiaq makes its exhibition premiere in October at the Paris Motor Show but this is the first time one has been seen officially in the public arena. The Kodiaq is expected to make its market debut at the beginning of 2017.