Chinese WorldTour team; Women’s race in Scotland: Daily News Digest

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The UCI has long fought hard to expand professional cycling into China. The governing body was in charge of running the Tour of Bejing from 2011 to 2014 and, now, the Tour of Guangxi closes out the WorldTour season in October. It appears China will grow from a mere race promoter to having its own WorldTour program in the near future.

Story of the day: China building A WorldTour program

A China-based WorldTour team looks set to debut in the coming years with the vision of having the first Chinese Tour de France winner by 2024. The program is dubbed the Global Cycling Project and former British professional cyclists Brian Smith and Shane Sutton are at the helm. Sutton, formerly the Technical Director for British Cycling, is currently working with the Chinese track program.

According to the newly launched website, the program has set the goal of joining the WorldTour in 2019 with a sole Chinese sponsor. Brian Smith later tweeted the program is focusing on joining the WorldTour in 2020. The plan is to also have a development team as well, so to create a pathway for Chinese riders to move to the WorldTour.

Ji Cheng became the first Chinese rider to start and finish the Tour de France when he competed in the Grand Boucle in 2014 for the then-named Giant-Shimano. Photo: Cor Vos

The UCI has seen China as a growing market and has made strides to improve professional cycling’s visibility in the region. The WorldTour-level Tour of Guangxi takes place in mid-October, but is often seen as a less-important event and WorldTour team participation is not mandatory.

Tim Kay, who owns a real estate company in the country, will serve as the project’s CEO.

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Walscheid leads German dominance at Sparkassen Münsterland Giro

Sunweb’s Max Walscheid sprinted to victory in the one-day Sparkassen Münsterland Giro over fellow countrymen John Degenkolb (Trek-Segafredo) and Nils Politt (Katusha-Alpecin).

“I’m super happy to win one of my favourite races and it means so much to win while I’m in Germany,” Walscheid said. “As a team, we were really strong today and we had five riders in the first group after the crosswinds. We kept our nerves and kept the legs quiet to wait for the sprint. We trusted in my ability to win the sprint and in the end, I’m super happy to finish it off.”

New three-day Women’s Scotland Tour set to debut in 2019

Scotland will have its own three-day women’s race in 2019. The Women’s Tour of Scotland is set to take place August 9-11 and be rated as a UCI 2.1. The ranking puts the event on the same level as the two-day Tour de Yorkshire, which occurs in May. 2018 was the third edition of the Yorkshire race.

Britain has become a hotbed for women’s racing, with the Tour of Scotland becoming its fourth UCI-ranked women’s event. The Ovo Energy Women’s Tour, largely considered the second most important stage race on the women’s calendar behind the Giro Rosa, and the one-day Ride London Classique are the other two events. RideLondon offered an equal payout for its men’s and women’s races in 2018.

The official route has not yet been announced, but a press release did confirm the total distance of the race will be 350 kilometres over the three days of racing. A mass-participation sportif is also slated to occur during the race.

Nizzolo fractured pelvis in L’Eurométropole crash

Trek-Segafredo confirmed today sprinter Giacomo Nizzolo is done for the season after further tests revealed the Italian has two microfractures in his right acetabulum region. The fractures were sustained in a crash at the Tour de l’Eurométropole on September 22.

“I am of course very sad that I won’t be able to race in the Hammer Series and the 2 races in Italy, which were a big goal for me after finishing the Vuelta in such a good condition,” Nizzolo said. “It’s a pity, but I will focus on my recovery and I will just anticipate the period of rest I had planned after the season and will restart training earlier to build up for what’s next.”

Nizzolo struggled to find the top step of the podium in 2018 and will finish the season with just one victory, from the Vuelta a San Juan back in January.

Transfer News

Three-time Belgian national champion Jolien d’Hoore will join Boels-Dolmans from Mitchelton-Scott in 2018. She will continue to balance her ambitions on the road and track while part of the Dutch squad. Her focus will be qualifying for the 2020 Tokyo Games in the Madison. She earned a Bronze medal at the 2016 Rio Olympics in the Omnium.

“I feel good combining both disciplines,” D’Hoore said. “The Madison is the main event I focus on in track cycling. The next two years, therefore, will be all about qualifying for Tokyo 2020 in the Madison. It means I’ll ride several World Cup races, followed by full road seasons.”

Former Australian national champion Miles Scotson will join Groupama-FDJ on a two-year deal, the French team confirmed on Twitter. Scotson will be joining the team from BMC Racing, whom he has raced from for the last two years since he made the jump to the WorldTour for 2017. Two of Scotson’s current BMC Racing teammates, Stefan Küng and Kilian Frankiny, were already confirmed as joining Groupama-FDJ as well.

Miles Scotson’s WorldTour career got off too an emphatic start with the Australian national road title in 2017, but he struggled in 2018 and will finish the season with only 46 race days. Photo: Cor Vos

In case you missed it …

Science: Physics PhD Dan Seaton examins the elite men’s time trial at the recent world road championships and explains why it takes a special kind of rider to succeed in TTs on varied terrain.

Today’s feature image: From yesterday’s Binche-Chimay-Binche race by Kristof Ramon, fall has begun to hit Belgium.

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