New WorldTour event looks likely for China
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Friday, February 10, 2012

New WorldTour event looks likely for China

by VeloNation Press at 1:50 PM EST   comments
Categories: Pro Cycling
 
UCI-linked Global Cycling Promotions introduces another new race

UCI WorldTourAfter the Tour of Beijing was last year awarded a place on the UCI WorldTour in its first year of existence, it appears likely that another Chinese race will be placed on the 2012 calendar. The UCI today announced that the new Tour of Hangzhou is in contention for a WorldTour licence, and while the decision is yet to be taken, it appears a formality for that to take place.

The UCI has confirmed to VeloNation that the Global Cycling Promotions company linked to it would run the race, which would take place after the Tour of Beijing. Its Professional Cycling Council approved the principle during its two day meeting yesterday and today, with the Licence Commission now needing to give it a green light.

“The five stage event would run from Wednesday to Sunday during the week following the 2012 Tour of Beijing. Called the “Tour of Hangzhou”, it would be held in the area surrounding Hangzhou, a city with a population of 8.7 million in Southern China. It would thus become the 28th event of the UCI WorldTour calendar,” said the UCI in a statement today.

“The Tour of Hangzhou must now apply to the Licence Commission for a UCI WorldTour licence in order to complete the administrative process.”

If approved, the race would join the Santos Tour Down Under, the GP Cycliste de Quebec and GP Cycliste de Montreal and the Tour of Beijing as non-European events on the WorldTour calendar.

“It is a natural step for cycling which is currently enjoying a period of huge growth worldwide,” said UCI President Pat McQuaid about the race. “This will generate great visibility for teams and riders and can be expected to give a big boost to cycling. The injection of funding directly benefits the sport with financial returns from the new races re-invested into cycling and also profiting teams and other stakeholders down the line. It is no secret that success breeds success and the current boom in cycling is good news for cyclists and cycling lovers across the board.

“We are very pleased with today’s decision which comes as part of UCI’s ongoing sustainable development of the sport.”

The establishment of Global Cycling Promotions led to some debate last year as the company was initially described in various media reports as for-profit, and marked a new direction for the UCI. It previously was involved in governing the sport but, through the GCP, is now involved in race organisation.

The UCI has said that it needs to generate additional funds to develop the sport, and that money raised by GCP will be used for that purpose. Today’s release states that McQuaid has said that the WorldTour “is also expected to bring some direct returns for the athletes, teams and stakeholders involved in the future.”

VeloNation has sought a reaction to the news from the teams’ association AIGCP, but has not yet had a response. If the race is awarded WorldTour status, all eighteen teams will be required to field a squad.

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