Alain Rumpf Interview: Countdown to the inaugural Tour of Beijing
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Saturday, September 10, 2011

Alain Rumpf Interview: Countdown to the inaugural Tour of Beijing

by Xylon van Eyck at 11:22 AM EST   comments
Categories: Pro Cycling, Interviews
 
Says racing in China offers teams sponsorship benefits

Alain RumpfEarlier this year, an announcement was made of the formation of the Global Cycling Promotion (GCP); a company owned by the International Cycling Union (UCI) set out to organize races in order to globalise cycling. Its first event, the Tour of Beijing will take place from the 5th – 9th October. The race came under some threat this year as World Tour teams threatened to boycott the event because of the UCI’s intention to ban race radios. GCP Director Alain Rumpf said this was never a major concern of his, as he always had faith that the event would go ahead as planned.

A compromise seems to have been reached for now between the teams and the governing body, with the race set to go ahead as planned. Riders like Samuel Sanchez (Euskaltel-Euskadi) have been confirmed, with the UCI also announcing the entry of the Chinese national team. VeloNation spoke to Rumpf this week to find what progress was being made as the inaugural event approached its start date.

VeloNation: How has the organisation been so far?

Alain Rumpf: It is going very well. The local organizing committee set up by the City of Beijing is doing an amazing work, with the assistance of our Global Cycling Promotion team. We have a solid and balanced course, and excellent infrastructures in Beijing. With the 2008 Olympics, Beijing and China have shown that they can organize major sport events of the highest level.

We are bringing the specific cycling expertise via our team of consultants and service providers, such as ASO who will be in charge of the race direction. It is a big challenge to organize a new UCI WorldTour event in China, but we are confident that the first edition of the race will be of high quality and we can build up from there.

VN: Are you happy that everything has been resolved with the World Tour teams now, following the threat of a boycott earlier this year?

AR: We were always confident that the 18 UCI WorldTour teams would participate in the race, as this is guaranteed to UCI WorldTour organizers by the UCI regulations. In addition to that, the Tour of Beijing is a wonderful opportunity for the whole sport, and especially the teams: the race will get extensive TV coverage both worldwide and in China, which is the second economy in the world. By racing in China, teams offer new opportunities to their sponsors, and can attract new ones. They understand that and we are assisting them and their sponsors as best as we can, for example by organizing hospitality activities for them on the race.

VN: Can you tell us about the national Chinese team and their participation?

AR: Organisers of UCI WorldTour events in strategic countries such as Poland, Canada, Australia and China can invite their national team. This rule was introduced by the UCI to assist with the local promotion of the event and help national riders to progress. With the Tour of Beijing, we aim to go beyond that: together with the World Cycling Center and the Chinese Cycling Association, we have a long term plan to develop athletes and officials. Chinese riders will be given the opportunity to train at the World Cycling Center facilities; coaching course will be organized in China, etc.

Last week, three riders who will participate in the 2011 Tour of Beijing with the Chinese national team arrived in Aigle to prepare for the event. The goal of the plan is to help the international success of Chinese athletes, and assist them to get into UCI Professional Teams and UCI ProTeams. By hiring Chinese riders, those teams will get great benefit from an increased exposure in China. This is what Global Cycling Promotion is all about: working with all members of the cycling family to create synergies for the benefit of the whole sport, and to assist the UCI's globalization strategy.

VN: Which other non World Tour teams are confirmed for the event?

AR:There will be 19 teams at the 2011 Tour of Beijing: the 18 UCI ProTeams and the Chinese national team.
 

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