Cycling: Tour of Southland sponsorship 'outstanding'

SBS Bank has been announced as the new naming sponsor of the Tour of Southland.

Ross Smith, the bank's chief executive, would not say yesterday what the three-year sponsorship deal was worth but said it was ''well into six figures''.

Southland electricity company PowerNet has sponsored the event for 12 years.

Securing sponsorship from SBS bank was ''outstanding'' and a new chapter for New Zealand's premier road cycling event, Cycling Southland chief executive Nick Jeffrey said.

Both he and Smith said the new partnership was a perfect fit.

''SBS Bank is a real Southland success story and has its heart in the Southland community. We'd like to think the same could be said about Cycling Southland and the Tour of Southland and we are excited about what we can achieve together over coming years,'' Jeffrey said.

Smith said there was ''considerable call'' on the bank's money available for sponsorship.

''We get approaches every week. Everyone is running tight for money at the moment, but the tour is an iconic event and we felt we couldn't afford to say no.''

Planning for this year's event, on November 3 to 9, was well advanced, tour director Bruce Ross said.

Entries opened at the start of this month and close on October 7, with strong interest already registered from throughout the country, Australia, America and Europe.

''We saw last year, with Node 4 (UK) and Bissell (USA) battling for the yellow jersey on the final day, just how the tour is viewed internationally, and we've got a few things up our sleeve this year which should make this year a spectacular race,'' Ross said.


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