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by Mark Zalewski
November 11, 2016
In today’s CyclingTips Daily News Digest: Grosu wins Tour of Taihu Lake, stage 5; Dimension Data Principal on WorldTour numbers: ‘The right decision was made for cycling’; Italian federation acquits all in ‘pay-to-race’ scheme; Baby Giro returning in 2017; Is a new Chinese WorldTour race in the works?; Opening round of Revolution Series Champions League cancelled; Rally Cycling adds Junior World Time Trial Champion Brandon McNulty; Cylance Pro Cycling completes roster with Marta Tagliaferro; Jan Dieteren making comeback after recovery from cancer; Linus Gerdemann pondering retirement; Julian Dean convicted of drunk driving; Downhill Taxco 2016 Course Preview.
Chinese billionaire Wang Jianlin has moved on from his lofty goals of buying the Giro d’Italia and Tour de France, having been turned down by both, and is apparently taking his ball and going home — to create a new WorldTour race in China. Various reports say that a one-week stage race, owned and operated by Wang’s sports event company Wanda Sports, could be included on the WorldTour calendar as soon as next season.
The UCI would not confirm the addition of the new race, but did not deny there are plans. “China offers tremendous potential for the development of our sport,” the UCI said in a statement. “But at this stage, there isn’t any agreement with Wanda Sports.”
As well, China is a huge market for the cycling industry, including the racing side. The creation of a Chinese-owned WorldTour team is a recent step in this direction.
The UCI had a racing presence in China as recently as 2014, with its backing of the Tour of Beijing through its Global Cycling Productions arm. However it took heat from critics that it was a conflict of interest to both govern and have an ownership stake in racing, and it ended with the arrival of Brian Cookson as UCI president.
Jianlin has made significant acquisitions in the sports world recently, in particular within endurance sports and cycling. His Wanda Sports subsidiary acquired the World Triathlon Corporation, owner of the lucrative IRONMAN brand, for $650 million. It also bought Infront Sports & Media in 2015 for $1 billion, and recently acquired the Cape Epic mountain bike race.
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