UCI announces details of Tour of Beijing WorldTour race
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Tuesday, July 19, 2011

UCI announces details of Tour of Beijing WorldTour race

by Ben Atkins at 6:16 AM EST   comments
Categories: Pro Cycling
 
Collaboration with Tour de France organiser could prove important in the issue of a proposed team boycott

tour of beijingThe International Cycling Union (UCI) has released details of the Tour of Beijing, which will be the newest event to be added to the WorldTour calendar. The five-day race, run in and around the Chinese capital, will take place between October 5th and 9th this year, slotting between the World Championships in Copenhagen, Denmark and the Giro di Lombardia.

“The Tour of Beijing promises to be an excellent, high calibre event, said UCI president Pat McQuaid. “Thanks to the cooperation of the Beijing and Chinese authorities we have been able to guarantee some spectacular, scenic and exciting stages that will put the world’s best riders to the test.”

The race will begin with a flat 11.3km time trial between the Bird’s Nest Stadium and the Water Cube, two of Beijing’s showpiece Olympic venues from the 2008 games. Stage two will again depart from the Bird’s Nest, following a rolling course to Men Tau Gou, while stage three looks to be rather hillier on its way to Yong Ning.

Stage three will be hillier and showcase more of the 2008 Olympic venues, running between Yanqing Gui Chuan Square and the Shunyi Olympic Rowing and Canoeing Centre, taking in the Great Wall, where the Olympic road race finished. The final stage will be a flat circuit race, starting in Tian An Men Square and finishing in front of the Bird’s Nest.

“It’s a well-balanced course, something for everybody, for sprinters and climbers,” said Alain Rumpf, the UCI’s Global Cycling Promotion (GCP) director. “It is not easy to build a race from scratch; however we have an excellent team, both from the UCI but also from the City of Beijing.

“We are very pleased with the team we have brought together, and in particular we are pleased to collaborate with ASO, who have already made a valuable contribution to the preparations for the Tour of Beijing”.

The collaboration with ASO, the owner and organiser of the Tour de France – as well as many of Europe’s other most prestigious races – could be key for the UCI in the race. The UCI’s long-standing battle with the Association of Professional Cycling Teams (AIGCP) over the use of race radios has threatened to lead to a boycott of the event by some, or all of, the first division ProTeams even though, as a WorldTour race, they would be required to attend.

The risk of upsetting ASO, which could potentially lead to a non-invitation to some of the sport’s biggest events, could prove too much for many.

Despite the race being in its first year, the 2011 tour of Beijing jumps right to the top of the calendar, to take its place in the WorldTour, alongside such events as the Tour de France, the Giro d’Italia and Paris-Roubaix. A victory in the event will carry more prestige, at least on an official level, than one in either of the Tours of Austria, Luxembourg, Belgium, Denmark, Britain or California.

2011 Tour of Beijing stages
Stage 1: Bird’s Nest to Water Cube via Olympic Park circuit – 11.3km ITT
Stage 2: Bird’s Nest to Men Tou Gou via North Gate of Summer Palace – 133.5km
Stage 3: Men Tou Gou to Yong Ning Town via Thirteen Ming Tombs Reservoir – 162km
Stage 4: Yanquin Gui Chuan Square to Shunyi Olympic Rowing and Canoeing Centre via Great Wall – 189.5km
Stage 5: Tian An Men Square to Bird’s Nest Olympic Stadium – 118km

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