Three years after being denied an accreditation for the 2008 Tour de France, UCI president Pat McQuaid expressed his happiness to sit on the side of Tour director Christian Prudhomme to introduce the Tour of Beijing to the media during the French Grand Tour's second rest day in the province of the Drôme.
Beijing was already the place where discussions started between the owner of the Tour de France Marie-Odile Amaury and the UCI at the 2008 Olympic Games. The newly created Tour of Beijing, due to take place October 5-9, is part of the Olympic heritage, McQuaid insisted.
The inaugural Tour of Beijing, part of the UCI WorldTour, is co-organised by a local committee and Global Cycling Promotion, the company created by the UCI in 2009 to develop race organisations. Its director Alain Rumpf, the former manager of the ProTour, announced in Saint-Paul-Trois-Châteaux that Alan Rushton, the former organiser of the defunct Tour of Ireland and World Cup races in England, has been appointed to run the technical and logistic department of the event, while Australian company Jump Media of David Culbert will be in charge of the media department.
ASO will assume the sporting side during the five-day stage race with Jean-François Pescheux acting as race director like at the Tour de France and about twenty employees of ASO to be present in China in October.
"The globalization of cycling is a necessity," stated ASO director of cycling Christian Prudhomme. "Riding a bike is universal but cycling competitively isn't yet. We have to go everywhere and it doesn't mean to renounce the grassroots. International development is important for ASO.
"For ten years we've been associated with Eddy Merckx and his company Paumer at the Tour of Qatar, then the Ladies Tour of Qatar, and the Tour of Oman since last year. We're also going to organise a fun ride in Argentina on October 8 and 9 with the label of the Tour de France. We have sent a mission of advisers in Indonesia [to the Tour of Singkarak in May]. But this isn't new to us. In 1954, four years before the foundation of the common European market, we organised the start of the Tour de France in Amsterdam, outside France. We went to Berlin in 1987 before the fall of the wall, etc."
McQuaid said that a boycott of the Tour of Beijing by the teams is no longer an option. He admitted that discussions are ongoing with the teams about the use of the radios. Cyclingnews understands the UCI is prepared to authorise radio communication between riders and managers at least for one more year and the Tour of Beijing will be run smoothly.