The inaugural Tour of Beijing will start and finish at Olympic Park and will include international tourism landmarks such as Tian An Men Square, the Bird’s Nest Stadium, Summer Palace, Great Wall and Ming Tomb Reservoir.
The website and tour route for the event, to be staged from Wednesday 5th to Sunday 9th October 2011, were unveiled today in Saint-Paul-Trois-Châteaux during the second rest day of the Tour de France.
The international launch of the event follows a domestic launch in Beijing late last month.
The Tour of Beijing is a partnership between the UCI and the Beijing City Government and covers an initial period of four years from 2011- 2014. The event is a legacy of the spectacular 2008 Olympic Games, in which the road cycling events provided unforgettable and spectacular road races through the Chinese capital.
A four-year partnership with Tour de France organisers Amaury Sport Organisation (ASO), who will provide event services to the Tour of Beijing and coordinate the sporting content of the race was also announced.
According to the UCI President, Mr Pat McQuaid, the Tour of Beijing continues the quest for the true globalisation of cycling.
“The fact that the Tour of Beijing will be included on the UCI WorldTour calendar is a victory for the city of Beijing, for the Asian continent and for the sustainable globalisation of cycling, one of my priorities as President of the UCI,” Mr McQuaid said.
“Since the 2008 Olympic Games, the Asian continent has rapidly been establishing an important place for itself in the world of cycling. The Tour of Beijing confirms that position.”
“With the 2008 Olympics, Beijing more than proved its ability to host a major international sporting event. That is why I was confident that the city could organise a cycling event on a par with the most prestigious races in the world. From what we have seen so far, my instinct was correct.”
“The Tour of Beijing promises to be an excellent, high calibre event. Thanks to the cooperation of the Beijing and Chinese authorities we have been able to guarantee some spectacular, scenic and exciting stages that will put the world’s best riders to the test.”
Since 2008 the global cycling calendar has changed significantly, expanding beyond Europe with the addition of Australia’s Tour Down Under in Oceania. Last year, America joined the UCI WorldTour with the Grand Prix Cycliste de Québec and the Grand Prix Cycliste de Montréal.
It is anticipated that the Tour of Beijing will be formally added to the UCI WorldTour calendar, subject to the award of a licence by the UCI Licence Commission whose decision is expected in the coming weeks.
The 2011 Tour of Beijing will be organised by a Local Organising Committee in partnership with Global Cycling Promotion (GCP), a wholly-owned subsidiary of the UCI
Based at the world cycling centre in Aigle, Switzerland, GCP is an essential element in the strategy for the globalisation of road cycling and the reinforcement of the disciplines Olympic status by the UCI.
Backed up by Chinese Sports Authorities, The Local Organising Committee is strongly supported by, and under the direct leadership of, the Beijing Municipal Government. It is composed of several governmental bodies, such as Beijing Municipal Bureau of Sports, its Competition Administration Center, the City’s foreign affairs office, Beijing Municipal Bureau of Public Security and the Beijing Municipal Bureau of Traffic Management.
The UCI team will be headed by Global Cycling Promotion director Alain Rumpf who has assembled a team of international cycling experts. ASO will co-ordinate the sporting content of the race, bringing to the field a team of 20 experts, led by Tour de France Competition Director Jean-François Pescheux.
Yann Le Moenner, General Director of ASO, stated: “We are very pleased to collaborate with GCP and the Local Organising Committee for the creation of the Tour of Beijing.”
“Already organising the Tour of Qatar and the Tour of Oman in partnership with Paumer (Eddy Merckx and Dirk De Pauw), ASO is a major actor in the globalisation of cycling, which today opens itself to new territories.”
“The creation of a top level race in China, and particularly in Beijing, is great news for cycling, and ASO is delighted to provide its event expertise to the organisers of the Tour of Beijing.”
As for the other key aspects, Yan Shi (Silk road Consulting) is leading the LOC Liaison; the worldwide television broadcast will be coordinated by International Sports Broadcasting chief Manolo Romero; race logistics will be co-ordinated by 2008 UCI World Track Championships and Tour of Ireland event director Alan Rushton (Sport for Television); whilst 2010 UCI World Road Championships media director David Culbert from Australian based Jump Media & Marketing will manage communications and media services.
According to Mr Rumpf, the Tour of Beijing is already proving to be a positive step forward to cycling worldwide, even before the riders take to the start line for the opening stage.
“It’s a well-balanced course, something for everybody, for sprinters and climbers,” Mr Rumpf said.
“It is not easy to build a race from scratch; however we have an excellent team, both from the UCI but also from the City of Beijing. We are bringing as much cycling expertise as we can and there has been very good collaboration. It’s been a great experience.”
“We are very pleased with the team we have brought together, all are world experts in their field and in particular we are pleased to collaborate with ASO, who have already made a valuable contribution to the preparations for the debut of the Tour of Beijing.”
The UCI team will work closely with the Beijing Sports Competitions Administration Centre (CAC) under the leadership of Mr LI Yingchuan, Executive Chairman of the Organising Committee and Director of Beijing Municipal Bureau of Sports.
“The dream of millions of cycling fans in China and Asia is going to be fulfilled. For the first time in the history, a top-profile road cycling event finds its home in China and Asia,” Mr Li Yingchuan said.
“The Tour of Beijing will be a catalyst to getting our citizens out of their cars and back on to their bicycles, the traditional mode of transport in China. Without any doubt, Tour of Beijing will present Beijing again to the world audience. It will also strengthen the development of Chinese cycling.”
Once added as part of the UCI WorldTour, the Tour of Beijing will automatically draw the participation of the 18 UCI ProTeams and will be the last stage race on the 2011 WorldTour calendar, finishing six days before the final event of the season, the one-day Giro di Lombardia (ITA) on October 15th.
2011 Tour of Beijing
Stage One – Wednesday 5th October
Individual Time Trial – 11.3km – Bird’s Nest – Water Cube via Olympic Park circuit
Stage Two – Thursday 6th October
137km – Bird’s Nest to Men Tou Gou via North Gate of Summer Palace
Stage Three – Friday 7th October
162km – Men Tou Gou to Yong Ning Town via Thirteen Ming Tombs Reservoir
Stage Four – Saturday 8th October
189.5km – Yan Qing Gui Chuan Square to Shunyi Olympic Rowing and Canoeing Centre via Great Wall
Stage Five – Sunday 9th October
118km – Tian An Men Square to Bird’s Nest Olympic Stadium
Tour of Beijing Media Services