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The UCI WorldTour expands its global footprint with the addition of the Tour of Beijing

Added: wednesday 10 November 2010 at 23:04:00
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    The UCI WorldTour expands its global footprint with the addition of the Tour of BeijingThe UCI World Tour 2011 continues its worldwide expansion with the addition of a new race in China. After North-America last year, it's now up to Asia to contribute to the globalisation of the cycling sport which the UCI is really looking for.

    But is this globalisation really beneficial?

    The Tour of Beijing in October 2011

    The 2011 Tour of Beijing is not yet on the interactive UCI cycling calendar of this site since it not officially part of the UCI calendars yet ...

    However, today, during a ceremony in Beijing, Pat McQuaid, President of the UCI, and the management of the Beijing Sports Bureau signed an agreement concerning the organisation of a new 5 day long stage race around Beijing which will be part of the UCI World Tour 2011, 2012, 2013 and 2014. Indeed, the agreement has an initial time span of 4 years and plans for the race to be part of the world calendar right from the start. However, before this will really be the case, the UCI Licence Committee still has to award a licence to the race, but that now just seems to be an administrative hurdle and not much more.

    The UCI press release indicates that The first edition of the event, known as the Tour of Beijing, will be held in the region of the capital of the People's Republic of China from 5-9 October 2011. With such a name and since it's being organised by the Beijing Sports Bureau, it seems hardly impossible for this race to go to other areas of China, so it's almost sure that it'll always take place in and around Beijing.

    The UCI and its president of course said to be very happy with this new step in the globalisation of cycling the international federation is so much looking for. Indeed, after the Grands Prix cyclistes de Québec and Montréal in Canada in 2010 and the addition of the Tour Down Under in Australia in 2008, the UCI World Tour 2011 will now be present on 4 continents (out of 7 if we count North-America, South-America, Antarctica, Asia, Europe, Africa and Oceania):
    • North-America: 1 country - Canada (2)
    • Asia: 1 country - China (1)
    • Europe: 8 countries - Germany (1), Belgium (5), Spain (4), France (4), Italy (4), The Netherlands (2), Poland (1) and Switzerland (2)
    • Oceania: 1 country - Australia (1)

    When looking at the number of countries, and even more if you have a look at the number of races (in between brackets in the above list), we clearly see that the historical cycling continent and countries (Europe with especially France, Belgium, Spain and Italy) are still at the top of the list in the UCI World Tour 2011 but the globalisation really has started!

    Why Asia?

    Bike rental in BeijingWhen reading the UCI press release it becomes clear that the international cycling federation decided to add a race in Asia on the world calendar because Asia has a huge pool of talent and immense passion for our sport and I am convinced that the whole cycling movement will profit from the very considerable beneficial effects of an event of this size.

    The choice specifically went out to China because Cycling in China (...) is currently experiencing very impressive development: after the 2008 Olympic Games, the popularity of road racing has just grown and grown. It is on the basis of this unique and extremely valuable platform that this new project has been launched.

    According to the UCI the initiative came from the management of the Beijing Sports Bureau and has been welcomed as an interesting initiative which now thus got rewarded with the UCI World Tour status.

    I already hear you thinking: "And the financial part in all this?". Indeed, there is of course a financial interest in this ... for the UCI it might be interesting to be able to adress the huge Asian market but the UCI itself underlines the interest for China: This high-level event will complement an already rich circuit of events, giving Asian cycling an exceptional showcase for its riders, teams and sponsors, as well as for the very many bicycle industry manufacturers.

    Mister Li, the Director of the Beijing Sports Bureau reminds the fact that the Olympic Games have been the base for the creation of this new stage race: The concept of organising an event such as the Tour of Beijing would probably never have seen the light of day if this country and city had not had the immense privilege of hosting the Olympic Games. It is the unique legacy of the Games that has been the driving force behind our initiative.

    He also indicates that the city's environment policy has a role to play ... Beijing City has a clearly defined strategy going forward to deal with environmental and sustainable energy issues for its citizens and we see the Tour of Beijing as particularly well placed to support those strategies. The Tour of Beijing will be a catalyst to getting our citizens out of their cars and back on to their bicycles, the traditional mode of transport in China.
    Indeed, I think the pro riders will definitely be happy with this since doing a pro race in smog and industrial gases must not be really fun!

    The bike is most importantly used for transport in Beijing!In any case, the director of the Beijing Sport Bureau is ambitious: The most difficult part of the work is clearly still ahead of us. However, we know we can count on the support of the sports and political authorities and the many volunteers who will assist in achieving our objective of making the Tour of Beijing, with the support of the UCI and the passion of the Chinese people for the sport, a major global cycling event.

    Is the globalisation really beneficial for cycling?

    Let's start by simply having a look at the UCI World Tour 2011 calendar: the Tour of Beijing, which will take place from 5 till 9 October 2011, will be a few weeks after the Grands Prix Cyclistes de Québec and of Montréal (on 9 and 11 September) and will finish less than one week before the Tour of Lombardy.

    With only these races this already represents quite a programme for a UCI ProTeam which is obliged to participate in these three races.

    But it doesn't end there because we also have to think of the World Championships which will take place in Copenhague (Denmark) from 19 till 25 September 2011 (time trial on the 21st, race in line on the 25th) or even Paris-Tours which will take place on Sunday 9 October 2011.

    As the photographer Graham Watson said on Twitter: Our 2011 travelling just got harder - Tour of Beijing is sandwiched between Worlds and Paris-Tours..! Impossible to be at P-T..?. Graham clearly needs the interactive UCI cycling calendar ;-).

    Even though the globalisation of cycling clearly can be beneficial, it's not sure the riders, followers and the staff of the teams really appreciate having to travel around the globe to participate in cycling races which are part of their mandatory programme. The French teams (and their budgets) might soon happily accept they'll not necessarily benefit from a UCI ProTeam licence?

    What do you think of the globalisation of cycling? And of the way the UCI is getting this done?

    source images:
    - photo background article illustration: Stuck in Customs/Trey Ratcliff
    - photo bike rental: TrevinC
    - photo transport bike: dhelling01

    by Thomas Vergouwen
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    this article appears in the following categories: UCI ProTour| Tour of Beijing | share on Facebook | delicious | twitter | Google | technorati


Currently 7 comments!
  1. http://www.cyclisme-roltiss-over.com/article-l-uci-inclut-un-tour-de-pekin-dans-son-circuit-mondial-60705681.html

    | Roland TISSIER | thursday 11 November 2010 at 8:39:15

  2. C'est la mort du cyclisme attachant et des valeurs sportives qu'il entraîne . Après la mondialisation du foot, du rugby, de la F1 et j'en passe, voici le cyclisme professionnel qui entre des deux pieds dans la cour du 100% fric. Peut-être parlera-t-on moins du dopage qui gangrène le cyclisme, à l'instar du foot et du rugby professionnels, pour lesquels parler d'un tel sujet relève du tabou le plus opaque, fric oblige.
    Rien d'étonnant, d'autant que c'est le système éco-socio-politique actuel qui veut un pareil dénouement.
    Affligeant, désolant, rageant, oui ; étonnant, non. Parlera-t-on un jour d'annulation de Tour de France, de Tour d'Espagne ou d'Italie au profit de Tour de pays du Tiers-Monde, que dis-je émargeants ? Regardez ce qu'ils ont fait des Grands Prix de France, de Belgique, de St Marin, du Nurburgring.
    Que tous ces extras européens se débrouillent avec leurs propres fédérations pour créer leur propres courses avec leurs propres coureurs et qu'ils ne nous enlèvent pas NOS courses. Sur 2 milliards de Chinois, ils auraient de quoi faire des Tours de Chine !!!
    Un léger coup de gueule de Sanglier qui en a plein le c... de la mondialisation.

    | Sanglier | thursday 11 November 2010 at 17:20:21

  3. Et Paris-Tours aux oubliettes depuis quelque temps... Merde !

    | Sanglier | thursday 11 November 2010 at 17:21:36

  4. d'accord avec toi !!

    | Elie | thursday 11 November 2010 at 20:12:51

  5. Je suis dégouté.
    Un Tour de Chine sans histoire rapporte des points.
    Alors qu'un Paris-Tours ne rapporte rien au vainqueur dans le classement UCI.
    En gros, les français, on peut les laisser gagner Paris-Tours, ils seront content a dû se dire l'UCI

    | david | friday 12 November 2010 at 9:53:31

  6. Bonsoir à tous, entièrement d' accord avec vous, je ne suis pas le seul dégoûté par l' UCI CACA. Oui la Chine est en train de nous éradiquer avec l' aval des Européens.

    | pascal51 | friday 12 November 2010 at 17:52:37

  7. le pire c'est dans quelques années quand le Tour de France partira des Etats-Unis, du Qatar, du Japon...
    rappelons que le Giro 2012 pourrait démarrer de Washington...

    | alex75 | friday 12 November 2010 at 20:45:43

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