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China returns to UCI WorldTour with Wanda deal

Mar 25, 2013
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The Wanda group expand their interest in sport to cycling. They were linked with buying the Grand Tours before.

The Union Cycliste Internationale (UCI) and Wanda Sports are delighted to announce a ground-breaking agreement that will develop men’s and women’s elite and grassroots cycling across various disciplines in China.

The agreement includes the creation of the Tour of Guangxi, a new UCI WorldTour race, taking the men’s professional road cycling peloton to one of China’s most popular tourism destinations. To be held in October, this event will pass through a mix of metropolitan areas and stunning countryside scenery over 6 days of racing. Starting from 2017, the Tour of Guangxi will run alongside a new women’s elite race which has applied for UCI Women’s WorldTour status as of 2018.

Both races will incorporate mass participation events, enabling amateur cyclists of all levels and abilities to ride part of the elite course. A school cycling programme will run in Guangxi Province, and a national promotional tour will help to spread the passion and excitement for the international event across the country.

The Tour of Guangxi will receive extensive international and national TV coverage including up to 150 minutes of daily live coverage featuring international graphics and English commentary.

After the first two successful editions of the UCI Cycling Gala hosted by Abu Dhabi in 2015 and 2016, this celebration of cycling will move to China in 2017. The annual event rewarding the year’s greatest achievements in professional road cycling will take place in the mountain city of Guilin, venue of the Tour of Guangxi’s final stage finish.

The first three editions (2017, 2018, 2019) of the brand-new UCI Urban Cycling World Championships will also take place in China at the end of October. Bringing together the very best of Mountain Bike Cross-Country Eliminator, Trials and BMX Freestyle Park, the innovative new concept is designed to inspire a whole new generation of urban cycling fans.

To ensure the long-term development of cycling in China, Wanda Sports will build a cycling centre that will serve as a satellite to the UCI World Cycling Centre in Aigle, Switzerland. Opened in 2002, the UCI World Cycling Centre is an elite coaching and training centre providing support to developing nations from all around the world. It offers training and development for around 100 athletes every year in all Olympic disciplines (road, track, BMX and mountain bike), as well as para-cycling and cyclo-cross. It has already welcomed more than 1,000 trainees from over 100 countries, including former Keirin UCI World Champion Guo Shuang of China, 2015 UCI BMX World Champion and Olympic Bronze medallist Venezuela’s Stefany Hernández, and UCI WorldTour rider Daniel Teklehaimanot (Eritrea), the first black African rider to wear the polka dot best climber’s jersey in the Tour de France.

The opening of a satellite centre in China, where promising athletes will be supported and funded by Wanda Sports, represents an enormous boost to cycling. The centre will include an international competition 250m indoor track, a BMX track and a road circuit, with the most talented young riders being selected to spend time at the UCI World Cycling Centre.