Cycling: Prudential backing Milk Race

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The Independent Online
The Milk Race has finally found a new sponsor in life assurance company Prudential after four years of trying to find replacement financial backing.

The nine-day race, which already has a slot in the international calendar for next year, has been the showpiece event in British cycling for more than 25 years. It is scheduled to run from May 23-31 in 1998.

Prudential are not intent on building on the tradition of the event, instead describing the tour, which will coincide with the company's 150th anniversary, as an entirely new race.

Unlike its previous incarnation, which was restricted to England and Wales, the new event will run through Scotland. Full details of the route will be announced in November.

Peter King, the chief executive of the British Cycling Federation, said: "It represents a big vote of confidence in the sport. We see it as further evidence of cycling's resurgence in popularity, both among those who take part and those who will enjoy the spectacle of exciting and colourful racing."

The Czech sprinter Jan Svorada outpaced his rivals for his second victory in the Tour of Spain yesterday when he won the 170km 16th stage from Cangas de Onis to Santander.

Svorada's sprint over the final 100 metres gave his Mapei team their fourth stage success and softened the disappointment of losing his Russian team-mate Pavel Tonkov, who has pulled out of the event because of a bronchial infection.

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