They brought you the Yeti and now Skoda will sponsor the King of the Mountains Jersey at the Tour of Britain 2011 cycle race. It's part of a deal that makes the company an Official Car Partner of the event, which runs from 11-18 September.

Of course there's nothing abominable about Skoda's association with the last major cycling event in Britain before the 2012 Olympics. Skoda's longstanding links with the sport aren't surprising, given that the company started life in the 19th century as a bike manufacturer in what is now the Czech Republic.

Skoda is already known as an official partner of iconic cycling events like the Tour de France and the Giro d'Italia. Now cycling fans and Skoda aficionados will be able to watch its fleet of 50 vehicles nipping round the highways and byways of Britain in a race that covers around 767 miles.

Sixteen teams of six riders will compete in the Tour of Britain 2011. Five of these will be supported by Skoda vehicles and this will include two British UCI Continental teams -- Rapha Condor Sharp and Team Raleigh.

Unlike a lot of sports sponsorship, Skoda's role will be considerably more active than hiding behind a Skoda billboard or handing out prizes to the stage winners. After all, this is a brand said to be "synonymous with energy and adventure".

If you see some hapless rider impaled on a barbed wire fence (as in this year's Tour de France) a medic in a Skoda will be on hand to patch him up. It all makes for a much more compelling story than anything yet dreamt up by TV advertisers.

The highlights -- from a cycling and Skoda viewpoint -- should be the three King of the Mountains sprints on each stage of the Tour of Britain 2011.

So after scooping the Auto Express Car of the Year in 2010 for the Yeti, Skoda will hand out King of the Mountains jerseys to some average-sized but speedy mountain men during the eight-day event.

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