Admittedly, it may have escaped your notice if you're not A) a big Skoda fan or B), a big road cycling fan.
That Skoda and racing bikes have an enduring relationship.
One which can in actual fact be traced all the way back to Skoda’s founding fathers. Namely Messrs Laurin and Klement. Two names synonymous with range-topping Skoda’s.
Believe it or not, Skoda started out life in the early 1890’s by manufacturing two-wheeled contraptions, rather than four.
The company which would later go on to become Skoda Auto was founded in 1896 by the aforementioned Laurin and Klement as a velocipede manufacturer in their native Czechoslovakia.
Skoda and The Tour de France: A Lesson In Teambuilding
Anyway, history lesson over and to cut a long story short for the benefit of a bite-size blog, Skoda and bicycles have been connected in some way or form ever since.
And for the past 18 years, Skoda - now owned by the Volkswagen Audi Group as you’re well aware - has been intrinsically linked to the body which governs professional road cycling worldwide - the Union Cycliste Internationale (or UCI).
And ever since forging a close partnership with the globe’s highest profile road cycling Tours, and thus perpetuating Skoda’s long and inextricably linked history with cycling.
Right now the most famous and front page of those Tours, the Tour de France is taking place in, well, France, primarily. Although the ‘Grande Depart’ took in three days of circumnavigating vistas across Denmark. As is recent tradition of the Tour de France roping in other European countries for the big off.
But let’s not get too bogged down with cycling details.
So, What Role Does Skoda Play In The Running Of The Tour De France?
A pivotal one, as it happens.
Donating some 200-plus Skoda’s to the cause - predominantly Octavia’s and Superb’s - which are facilitated by drivers and technicians, and provided annually for the overarching organisational aspect, extending reach to team management and support crews.
Split into three core areas - along with VIP vehicles - a fleet of Skoda’s service the following needs throughout the professional cycling tour calendar.
Race Director’s Leading Cars
At the head of the peloton the casual TV observer will visually note the presence of a Skoda Enyaq iV. The specially-adjusted brand’s halo EV is responsible for continually shuttling the Director of the Tour de France around for the duration of Tours. Instantly recognizable in its ‘velvet red’ livery, coupled with custom decals including yellow windscreen visors.
The Enyaq is essentially a mobile race control unit that acts as a roving command centre. And is equipped with two-way radios, six antennas, a retractable panoramic roof (ideal for the Race Director to poke their head out of to orchestrate proceedings) and all the extras that race directors have as part of their ‘riders’.
For a month this Skoda represents a home-from-home, therefore needing a few of the more familiar mod-cons. Including holders for champagne flutes, naturally.
Although not an optional extra we ever recall witnessing on any of the Skoda’s we perform oil services on, to be fair.
Choosing from a selection of iV, hybrids or diesel-powered Skoda Octavia’s and Superb’s, Tour de France team cars are pretty much the lifeblood of the tour.
Not least because they’re rammed to the gunnels with all the kit and caboodle teams need out in the field. Or rather, the road climbs of Europe.
These mobile bike workshops envelop first aid stations, spare parts supplies, gear-change points and a stash of refreshments amongst other fundamentally important items.
Neutral Support Cars
These Skoda’s are fully loaded up with all the spare parts the professional cyclists require, and come to the immediate aid of all team riders in circumstances when their team cars can’t reach them. Think spare tyres, crank sets, chains and even frames, together with accessories which are instrumental to cyclists’ wellbeing. Energy gels and drinks and rain jackets, for example.
While historically the support vehicles were finished in Mavic yellow, since being sponsored by Japanese component giant, Shimano, the Skoda Superb’s have turned blue.
Teamwork, WCC Neston Style
As you can see, Skoda and the Tour de France are a well drilled team who work for each other. An ethos we can very much relate to here at WCC Neston. Where our team are themselves big fans of both Skoda’s (understandably) AND cycling, as it turns out.
To the point that some of us routinely cycle to work.
What’s more, many of our customers remove bikes from their vehicles when they leave them with our team to carry out services on.
Lycra wearing or non-lycra wearing, we welcome all Skoda owners looking to have their CitiGo, Fabia, Octavia, Superb, Yeti, Kamiq, Karoq or Enyaq serviced in the near future.
So please don’t hesitate to get in touch to book in.