After a three-year hiatus, the international women’s elite road cycling tour is making its anticipated return to China. As one of the paramount events in the cycling calendar, the Tour of Chongming Island is slated to be the highlight of the 2023 UCI Women’s World Tour. Fans and participants eagerly await this significant event, which will take center stage in Shanghai from October 12 to 14.
This prestigious tour will witness participation from 18 stellar teams, comprised of top-tier cycling talents drawn from 13 countries and regions worldwide. In this gathering of global talents, teams from the Chinese mainland and Hong Kong will vie for the spotlight. With the 2024 Paris Olympic Games on the horizon, riders will engage in fierce competition to amass points crucial for Olympic qualification.
The Tour of Chongming Island stands tall in the international cycling community, enjoying recognition on par with iconic events like the Giro d’Italia Donne and Tour de France Femmes. Speaking about its stature, Luo Wenye, the vice chief of the Shanghai Administration of Sports, illuminated the rewards at stake. “The victor of Chongming will secure a whopping 400 points. It presents a golden chance for Chinese cyclists to accumulate points on their home turf, aiming for qualification in the forthcoming Paris Olympic Games,” remarked Luo.
The UCI Women’s World Tour, initiated in 2016, represents the zenith of global road races. The 2023 edition, featuring 27 riveting road cycling events, commenced with the Women’s Tour Down Under in January. After journeying across the globe, it will conclude its odyssey in China, with the Tour of Chongming Island leading the final lap, followed closely by the Tour of Guangxi starting on October 17 in Guilin.
Sun Weimin, a key figure from the General Administration of Sport of China, emphasized the importance of the event for Chinese cyclists. The Tour doesn’t just offer points but also fosters confidence and propels the growth of road cycling within China.
Per UCI regulations, the path to the Paris Olympics will be heavily influenced by the UCI Nation Rankings. A mechanism that sees the top five countries rewarded with four rider slots, followed by scaled allocations for countries ranked till the 45th position.
Athletes during the Chongming Island event will traverse a distance of nearly 350 kilometers. This captivating route will introduce participants and spectators to the mesmerizing locales of Chongming Island, illustrating the perfect confluence of natural splendor and urban advancements. To enhance the ambiance, a vibrant cycling carnival is also in the offing, showcasing vintage bicycle exhibits and an artistic bicycle display.
Chongming’s journey, from hosting the National Road Cycling Classic in 2003 to the UCI Women’s World Tour, underscores its evolution as a cycling paradise. This passion for cycling has been reciprocated by the island by crafting 413 kilometers of leisure cycling paths, enticing countless enthusiasts to its shores. These paths serve as a conduit, interlinking Chongming’s picturesque attractions and offering cyclists a singular experience.
In summary, the Tour of Chongming Island, after years of nurturing, has not only secured UCI’s endorsement but has also won accolades from all participating teams. Its contribution to global cycling is irrefutable, and it stands proudly as China’s premier annual cycling extravaganza, commented Sun.