The organisers of the Tour de France, Amaury Sport Organisation (ASO) and Activation Group have that agreed that China will host the 'Tour de France Critérium' and a Chinese version of L'Etape in November. The Tour de France has already enjoyed an Asian connection since 2013, organising the end of season Saitama Criterium in Japan but the announcement marks the first move into China.
"We are very excited about Le Tour de France Branded Events in China. The bicycle plays an important role in our lives. This simple two-wheeled vehicle has been a reliable means of transport for decades. Nowadays, the bicycle industry is enjoying an unprecedented boom in China, while cycling is particularly popular among the young generation, not only as a means of transport but rather as a lifestyle choice," said Kathy Zhou, General Manager of Activation Sports and Director of the Tour de France Branded Events in China.
"We are confident that this year's Tour de France Branded Events in China will provide exciting racing and offer a wide range of opportunities for the public to see both professional and amateur riders close to where they live."
Tony Martin in too much pain to finish the Tour de France
Tony Martin (Etixx-QuickStep) was a surprise non-finisher of the Tour de France despite starting Sunday’s final stage to Paris and riding into the French capital. The German preferred to pull out of the race after reaching the Champs Elysees due to severe knee pain. He quickly headed home after the stage in the hope of understanding the cause of the problem and to begin treatment so he can compete at the Rio Olympics.
“Unfortunately I had to end the Tour early yesterday due to severe knee pain. I am really disappointed,” Martin wrote on his personal website www.tony-martin.de.
“It is never good to have to abandon a race. Yesterday I absolutely wanted to start, so that I could help Marcel as much as possible in the finale. But after only 20 kilometres I knew that I couldn't do it, the pain was simply too much. The relaxed ride up to the Champs Elysees was good for me, but then I turned off directly to the bus.”
“The pain started on Saturday and came from nowhere. So far we have no explanation for it. Maybe too much stress, maybe a reaction to the cooler temperatures and rain. I will use the next few days to try and figure out the cause and see that I can fully use the knee again. Meantime I am home again. I left directly after the stage. That was not because of my leaving the race, but had been planned all along with an eye to Rio and my further preparation.”
Adam Hansen continues consecutive grand tour streak at Tour de France
Australian Adam Hansen has extended his consecutive grand tour record by finishing the Tour de France in Paris on Sunday. The Lotto Soudal rider broke Bernardo Ruiz's record of 13 straight three-week grand tours at last year's Vuelta a Espana and has extended that record to 15th after completing the Giro earlier this year before the Tour.
It was a perfect end to Hansen's 15th straight and 22nd career grand tour as teammate Andre Greipel won the sprint ahead of Peter Sagan for Lotto Soudal's second stage of the race.
There is no end in sight for Hansen with the 35-year-old to line up at the Vuelta a Espana on August 20 and set out to stretch his record to 16 straight grand tours before the end is out.
Etixx-QuickStep won't be Vanmarcke's team from 2017
A guest on the Vive le Vélo Televison show, Belgian Classics rider Sep Vanmarcke ruled out Etixx-QuickStep as his new team from the 2017 season. The LottoNL-Jumbo rider is leaving the team at the end of 2016 and will announce who he will ride for after August 1.
"Where I ride next season, I can not tell. I've explored all options. Soon I will decide. With Etixx-QuickStep has there been a conversation, but nothing really concrete," Vanmarcke said after finishing the Tour. "It was an offer for one year, but I prefer a contract for a longer period. Etixx-Quick Step is not my new team."
Etixx-QuickStep announced a one-year contract extension for Tom Boonen last week who remains the team's primary classics rider.