Armstrong comeback worth extra $32m to Tour de France

By Stephen Farrand, Cyclingnews.com | Wednesday, December 15, 2010 3.18pm

Lance Armstrong’s comeback and his duel with Alberto Contador at the 2009 Tour de France helped boost the profits of race organiser Amaury Sport Organisation (ASO).

The seven-time Tour winner and ASO often had a difficult relationship but Armstrong’s return to the Tour de France helped add $US32 million to the company’s turnover as Skoda, Orange and other companies renewed their sponsorship.

The Bloomberg news agency claims to have seen an email of ASO’s filing to a company registry in Nanterre, France. It reports that sales from ASO’s sporting events, which includes the former Paris-Dakar rally, the Paris marathon and their other cycling races, rose 20% to €145.2 million ($195.4 million). The Tour’s global television audience increased 10 percent although net income fell €1.2% to 31.8 million.

“The Armstrong-Contador duel was certainly not irrelevant to the success” of the race, the company filing said, with the financial targets of the Tour de France slightly surpassed.

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Armstrong rode with Contador at the Astana team in 2009. The Spaniard went on to win the race despite tension in the team, with Armstrong finishing third.

Major sponsors of the Tour de France include yellow jersey sponsor LCL Banque, Vittel, Carrefour and Skoda. Nike is the official jersey supplier.

The Tour de France publicity caravan consists of 160 vehicles representing 33 brands and gives out 16 million gifts each year according to ASO. Costs for the vehicles in the caravan range from €200,000-500,000.

The Tour de France is broadcast by 121 different television channels in 186 countries.

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