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Rumpf confirms another WorldTour race for 2013
Alain Rumpf has confirmed that the Tour of Beijing has netted an unspecified profit for the UCI and that the GCP is looking to roll out another World Tour event in 2013. The prospective event would most likely be held in Brazil, Russia or India.
The inaugural Tour of Beijing took place in August and was won by HTC's Tony Martin. As expected with a first-year event there were a number of teething problems, but Rumpf told Cyclingnews that plans had already been discussed to improve the 2012 edition of the event. Some criticism was levelled at the event due to uncertainties over testing laboratories, pollution and a lack of crowds.
"For the first edition it was a success. Of course you have a few little things that didn't work exactly how you want them to work but overall things were good. From a sporting point of view we had very good winners and to have the world time trial champion as the winner was a success," Rumpf told Cyclingnews.
"The local organising committee did a good job as well. It was their first time and they were very inexperienced but the teams were well treated and received. The quality of the roads, the closures were all very good too. The coverage from the media and television were also good but we need to improve on things for next year and we've already started doing that for next year.
"We can improve the course and some of the stages to make the battle for GC more exciting. We need to discuss that with the local organising committee and we have some ideas on how to do that for next year."
As for the cost of the event, Rumpf remains tight lipped. Before the event he would only tell Cyclingnews that it would cost less than 10 million Euro and despite the event finishing over a month ago the precise cost is still uncertain.
"We've not finished the whole process but I've spent a lot of time signing invoices. It does cost a significant amount of money but it's too early to say how much. Clearly the goal with the budget provided by the city of Beijing was to organise a very good race and make sure the teams and riders had the best experience. We achieved that.
"The other goal for the end of the project was to make sure that money was left for the UCI because that was another goal and Pat McQuaid has been quite clear on the fact that the event would be a source of revenue for the UCI, which as an international federation, needs money to fulfil its mission. So we do expect that there will be money left for the UCI but due to the fact that it's the first edition it's hard to finalise just now."
The build up to the event was less than ideal, with a boycott by the teams only discarded at the last minute. The GCP had been keen to stress that the race opened new doors to potential sponsors for teams, a welcome relief and opportunity in the current climate. However Rumpf admitted that those opportunities will come later but that the short term did allow existing teams small windows of opportunities with their existing backers.
"Several teams have invited their local representatives of their current sponsors. AG2R did this, Rabobank too. RadioShack had their management on the last stage so from that point of view we've seen that teams have used the opportunity for some PR activities. With regards to new sponsors I think the first year was just to show the product, this is cycling in Beijing and this is what it can do. That was achieved. Now the Chinese public and media know that the race is on the map and that should see sponsor commitments from next year. "
The Tour of Beijing will conclude next year's WorldTour calendar and although no new GCP events will be launched in the next twelve months, Rumpf believes there could be a chance for another money making event.
"The countries we're talking about are Brazil, Russia and maybe India. What I have learned is that you need a lot of guarantees in place before you can make a decision about having a WorldTour event for GCP. In China we had the full backing of the government. There are a lot of requirements for an event to fill but we're working on it," he said.
However, Rumpf did not rule out the GCP taking over an existing race on the calendar in the future, rather than launching another Beijing project in Delhi, Moscow or Rio.
"It isn't fixed on one type of specific project so it could be an existing event. I can't give yon an example because it's not a current scenario but I don't exclude it as an opportunity. It has to be the right partners and market but if the race exists, then why not?"