The Union Cycliste Internationale (UCI) have announced that a new UCI WorldTour race – the Tour of Guangxi – will take place next year.
The six-day race will be 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 new race forms part of a new partnership which has been announced between the UCI and Wanda Sports which is aiming to develop men’s and women’s elite and grassroots cycling across various disciplines in China.
According to the statement from the UCI, the races will incorporate mass participation events, “enabling amateur cyclists of all levels and abilities to ride part of the elite course.”
A school cycling programme will run in Guangxi Province, and a national promotional tour will help to increase awareness for the international event across the country.
The Tour of Guangxi will receive extensive international and national TV coverage including up to 150 minutes of daily live coverage featuring international graphics and English commentary.
The UCI Cycling Gala which has been held in Abu Dhabi in 2015 and 2016 will move to China in 2017. The annual event rewarding the year’s greatest achievements in professional road cycling will take place in the mountain city of Guilin, venue of the Tour of Guangxi’s final stage finish.
The first three editions (2017, 2018, 2019) of the brand-new UCI Urban Cycling World Championships will also take place in China at the end of October. Bringing together the very best of Mountain Bike Cross-Country Eliminator, Trials and BMX Freestyle Park, the innovative new concept is designed to inspire a whole new generation of urban cycling fans.
To ensure the long-term development of cycling in China, Wanda Sports will build a cycling centre that will serve as a satellite to the UCI World Cycling Centre in Aigle, Switzerland.
The satellite centre will include an international competition 250m indoor track, a BMX track and a road circuit, with the most talented young riders being selected to spend time at the UCI World Cycling Centre.
UCI President Brian Cookson said: “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. 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.”