UCI announces 2011 WorldTour will include new Tour of Beijing
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Wednesday, November 10, 2010

UCI announces 2011 WorldTour will include new Tour of Beijing

by VeloNation Press at 11:43 AM EST   comments
Categories: Pro Cycling
 
Initial four year deal for new top-ranked event

Tour of BeijingA major addition has been made to the UCI’s WorldTour calendar for 2011, with a new Tour of Beijing set to be held between October 5-9.

The race, which is subject to the award of a licence by the UCI Licence Commission, has been hailed by the UCI’s president Pat McQuaid as a big step forward. One of his goals is to effect globalisation of the sport and he sees this as playing an important role.

“The quality of the proposal presented to us is superb,” he said of the planned race, which the UCI and the Chinese authorities have initially agreed will run for four years. “The prospects for the Tour of Beijing within the UCI WorldTour are excellent.”

McQuaid and representatives from the Beijing Sports Bureau today signed an agreement relating to the race’s place on the UCI WorldTour.

"We are all aware that Asia has a huge pool of talent and immense passion for our sport,” said the Irishman “I am convinced that the whole cycling movement will profit from the very considerable beneficial effects of an event of this size.

“Cycling in China, in particular, 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….[this] will be to the benefit of all cycling.”

The race joins three other non-European events which are on currently on the UCI WorldTour. These are the Santos Tour Down Under, which was upgraded to ProTour status in 2008, and the QP de Quebec and GP de Montreal, which were run for the first time this year.

When the ProTour was first introduced back in 2005, there was a strict criteria as to which ones could be upgraded to cycling’s top ranking. This has now been relaxed, with the requirement that events should be run for a certain number of years before reaching such status being released in the case of the two Canadian events and, now, the Tour of Beijing.

A strict quality control will presumably be run, though, ensuring that they are of the required level.

Hosting a ProTour race in China has long been a goal of the UCI. It is only now that this has come to fruition, and it should help create greater interest in the sport in Asia and elsewhere.

“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,” McQuaid continued.

“After Oceania with the Tour Down Under and America with the Québec and Montréal GPs, the UCI WorldTour is proud of the prospect of further expanding its horizons on the Asian continent, and more specifically in the magnificent country of China, with the Tour of Beijing.”

Mr Li, Director of the Beijing Sports Bureau said that the 2008 Olympic Games played a big part in making the race take place. “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 said.

He added that an additional benefit of the race would be to encorage more Chinese to return to cycling as a form of transport, thus supporting strategies to deal with environmental and sustainable energy issues.

In 2011, the UCI WorldTour will comprises the events previous categories as ProTour races with those run off in the Historical Calendar. The latter are races run by the organisers of the three Grand Tours, namely the Giro d’Italia, the Tour de France, the Vuelta a España, Paris-Nice, Tirreno-Adriatico, Milano-Sanremo, Paris-Roubaix, La Flèche Wallonne, Liège-Bastogne-Liège and the Tour of Lombardy.

The new Tour of Beijing will slot in after the world road race championships (to be run between September 19 – 25) and the Tour of Lombardy, which will take place on October 15th. All 18 ProTeams will be required to take part.

There will be 27 events in all on the 2011 WorldTour calendar.


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2011 WorldTour calendar:

18-23 January: Tour Down Under
06-13 March: Paris-Nice **
09-15 March: Tirreno-Adriatico **
19 March: Milano-Sanremo **
21-27 March: Volta Ciclista a Catalunya
27 March: Gent-Wevelgem
03 April: Ronde van Vlaanderen
04-09 April: Vuelta Ciclista al Pais Vasco
10 April: Paris-Roubaix **
17 April: Amstel Gold Race
20 April: La Fleche Wallonne **
24 April: Liege-Bastogne-Liege **
26-01 May: Tour de Romandie
07-29 May: Giro d'Italia **
05-12 June: Criterium du Dauphine Libere
11-19 June: Tour de Suisse
02-24 July: Tour de France **
30 July: Clasica San Sebastian
31-06 August: Tour de Pologne
08-14 August: Eneco Tour
20-11 September: Vuelta a Espana **
21 August: Vattenfall Cyclassics
28 August: GP Ouest France-Plouay
09 September: GP Cycliste de Quebec
11 September: GP Cycliste de Montreal
5-9 October: Tour of Beijing
15 October: Giro di Lombardia **

** Historical calendar events that have been integrated

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