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by Mark Zalewski
December 2, 2016
In today’s CyclingTips Daily News Digest: Chris Froome to start his 2017 season in Australia at Cadel’s Race and the Sun Tour; Gaimon begins retirement by hunting banned rider’s Strava KOMs; Paddy Bevin on his WorldTour debut: ‘I took a bit of a beating’; UCI and Wanda Sports sign partnership to transform cycling in China; Shane Sutton on short list for Cycling Australia high performance director job; Tom Veelers announced retirement due to ongoing knee injury; Why not Froome as BBC’s Sports Personality of the Year?; Peter Sagan Wins Velo D’Or; Hayman backs Matthews’ team move for green jersey aspirations; Wiggins listed on British Cycling’s 2017 podium programme; Cylance Pro Cycling names men’s roster; No Grand Départ for Portsmouth in 2019, but hopes for a future bid; Controversy brewing over grant for Irish government head’s cycling club; Colombian cycling photographer Horacio Gil Ochoa.
Cycling’s governing body, the UCI, has signed an agreement with Chinese business group Wanda Sports, a subsidiary of Dalian Wanda Group, in order to foster growth of the sport in the country. The agreement will create a new UCI WorldTour race and the building of a satellite cycling centre, similar to the World Cycling Centre at the UCI’s headquarters in Aigle, Switzerland. The Tour of Guangxi will be a six-day stage race held in October, and will run alongside a new women’s elite race which has applied for UCI Women’s WorldTour status for 2018.
The five-stage Tour of Beijing ran from 2011-14, and was produced by the UCI’s controversial Global Cycling Promotions, which was shuttered when Brian Cookson took over as UCI president over claims of a potential conflict of interest. Wanda Sports has been in the sports industry news lately for similar agreements with soccer’s governing body FIFA and basketball’s governing body FIBA, as well as other sports, in order to develop the country’s emerging sports industry.
“We are absolutely delighted to announce this partnership with Wanda Sports which will provide a huge boost to cycling in China and I would like to thank Wanda Sports for their support and commitment to our sport,” said UCI president Brian Cookson. “The UCI’s main role is to grow and develop cycling globally and China provides us with a wonderful opportunity to engage with literally hundreds of millions more people.
“In addition to staging races, it is crucially important that we have facilities to develop young athletes and I am particularly pleased that Wanda Sports will build and fund a development centre linked to the UCI World Cycling Centre in Switzerland. In Rio, we had 34 former or current UCI WCC trainees competing for Olympic medals and with this investment by Wanda, it is clear that in the future we will see more and more Chinese athletes competing at top international level in all cycling disciplines.”
“We are extremely pleased to be announcing this investment in cycling in China,” said Dalian Wanda Group Chairman Wang Jianlin. “This partnership with the UCI and the region of Guangxi represents a major addition to our sporting portfolio. We know that China has a tremendous potential in cycling and we are proud that Wanda Sports will be instrumental in realising that potential, with the support of great partners.”
Click through to read more at the UCI.