The Union Cycliste Internationale has signed what is being described as a “groundbreaking” deal with the Wanda Sports Group that will see the development of grassroots cycling in China, as well as a new stop on the UCI World Tour calendar.
Revealed today, the agreement will see the creation of the Tour of Guangxi, set to debut in October next year. China will also now host the UCI Cycing Gala, set for Guilin, as well as host the first three editions of the UCI Urban Cycling World Championships from 2017 through 2019.
An interesting detail to emerge is that Wanda too will move the other way, building a cycling centre to serve as a satellite unit to the UCI’s own World Cycling Centre in Aigle, Switzerland. This, it is said, will house a 250 metre indoor track, BMX circuit and road loop.
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.”
Dalian Wanda Group Chairman Wang Jianlin declared: “We are extremely pleased to be announcing this investment in cycling in China. 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.”
Read the UCI’s announcement here.