Great news on the sponsorship front for some major races in the United States.

Pepsi sponsorship saves Tour of Battenkill

The United States of America was close to losing the UCI-sanctioned Tour of Battenkill when its former sponsor pulled its funding two months ago, but organizer Dieter Drake has found a replacement in PepsiCo that will allow the event to continue as scheduled in Cambridge, New York on April 18.

“I approached them back in January after we lost our presenting sponsor from last year during the Christmas holiday," Drake said. "With some persistence, they were receptive to talking about it. Selling a bicycle race is not an easy task but with a large, multi-billion dollar company like Pepsi it worked out.”

Without a replacement for previous sponsor, Malta-based GlobalFoundaries, Drake would have been forced to cancel the UCI professional men’s race, and the Pro/Am events held the weekend prior.

via Pepsi Sponsorship Saves Tour Of Battenkill | Cyclingnews.com.

And in an event that’s a bit closer to my heart, it looks like Zions Bank is returning as presenting sponsor of the Tour, with an expanded commitment to the race.

Tour of Utah steaming ahead

In what is perhaps a sign that the economy is improving, several major races have announced recently that they had secured major sponsors and are confidently approaching their scheduled launch.

The latest is the Tour of Utah, whose organizers announced Monday that all their 2009 sponsors are continuing this year, and that the race is adding a new title sponsor, Zions Bank.

The event, to be held August 17-22,will include a prologue and five stages, concluding with its toughest stage, the Park City to Snowbird Ski and Summer Resort.

The other stages include the University of Utah Health Care Ogden to Research Park road race, the Heiden Davidson Orthopedics criterium in downtown Park City, a time trial at Miller Motorsports Park sponsored by teamgive.org, and the XANGO Thanksgiving Point to Top of Mt. Nebo road race. Race route details will be announced soon.

via VeloNews.com – Tour of Utah steaming ahead.

As the VeloNews article notes, news like this really can be viewed as a sign that the economy is starting to improve, as advertising budgets start to open up again and businesses start to look for less traditional avenues for exposure.

Hopefully, this means not only the return of some other major races (like the Tour of Georgia), but also more money for teams and riders.

Of course, I also hope it means more money for employees of corporations as well. It sure would be nice to get a raise this year, since my salary has been frozen since December 2007 while my cost-of-living has increased over the few years (and rather abruptly so this past week).