The London-Paris 2011 kicked-off last Thursday (20 Jan) evening, at a launch event hosted in the wonderful surroundings of the brand new Sigma Sport bike store in Kingston, Surrey. Considered the UK's foremost cyclosportive, The London-Paris is now cemented as one of the premier cycling events on the calendar and saw a record number of teams unveiled to a packed audience of riders, sponsors, corporate backers and sporting celebrities. Demand for places on the 2011 event has been such that the event sold out in around 15 minutes.
Amongst those present on the night were The London-Paris 'Ride Captains' and BBC commentator and former footballer Mark Bright, who will take part this year alongside the 20 teams and numerous celebrities.
The 2011 sponsors roster is stronger than ever and many of those partners who will accompany the ride in June were also present, offering information for the riders.
They included hosts and 2011 Retail Partner - Sigma Sport, clothing sponsor adidas, providers of neutral service Mavic, cycling-specific insurance company Cyclosure, rider after-care partners through massage and skin care TheTriTouch & Sportique, coffee provider Big Maggy's, logistics partner DHL, nutrition provider SIS, office space provider Regus, new helmet sponsor MET and the all important ride tracking company MapMyTracks.
The evening - MC'd by Cyclevox's Anthony McCrossan - got underway with the showing of some inspirational footage from the 2010 event, and an enthusiastic welcome speech from The London-Paris founder Sven Thiele; which was followed by the introduction of the Ride Captains and the 2011 sponsors.
The Official Charities for The London-Paris 2011 are The Geoff Thomas Foundation, UK Youth and DebRA, and all three were represented on stage by GTF's Geoff Thomas, UK Youth's Charlotte Hill and DebRA's Kim Davies - all were party to a rousing welcome.
Speaking after the event Charlotte Hill, CEO of UK Youth, said, "This evening has really spurred Team UK Youth on, we're all so excited about riding!". Charlie Taylor, Cyclosure, added, "What a great evening - you could really feel the buzz of the event and how excited everyone is to be taking part".
HotChillee director Sven Thiele was overwhelmed with the reaction and warmth he experienced, stating, "With the event selling out in just 15 mins we knew this year was going to be extra special and tonight's kick-off event has only underlined that. I'd like to thank Ian and Jason of Sigma Sport for their kind hospitality, and hey, what a beautiful new store they have!
This is a very professional team that we now have assembled at The London-Paris, and have a record number of teams taking part this year, with some very interesting and diverse characters. We are very lucky to have world-class sponsors and partners to be proud of, and each year the calibre of riders just gets better and better, as our community grows and the number of cyclists continues to increase. The entire support team is ready and looking forward to an exceptional 2011".
The London-Paris website enables fans and participants to keep up to date with event news, stars, sponsors and features of the 2011 event, with exciting announcements regarding high-profile riders expected in the coming weeks.
A further report on the evening can be found on here.