The UCI has announced that it has signed a four-year agreement with the organisers of the Tour of Beijing, the newest event in the 2011 UCI World Tour.
The inaugural running of the Tour of Beijing is scheduled to take place October 5th-9th, and is part of the UCI's efforts to spread professional cycling's top events around the world.
"The Tour of Beijing is a significant step in the UCI's policy of the globalisation of cycling," said UCI president Pat McQuaid.
"Like other countries in this continent, China is fast establishing an important place for itself in the world of cycling, and we are extremely satisfied to be able to finalize this project – which represents a great achievement for the whole Asian cycling movement – in cooperation with Beijing's authorities. I'm sure UCI's know-how and Chinese's enthusiasm will make this new event a very successful one."
Vice Mayor of the Beijing Municipal Government, Liu Jingmin said his city was keen to repeat the success enjoyed during the cycling events of the 2008 Olympic Games. "The Tour of Beijing is a legacy of these Games. Our city is honoured to be part of the UCI WorldTour and proud to once again welcome the world's elite cyclists."
The first major world (nee ProTour) event to be organised outside Europe was the Tour Down Under in Australia. After an aborted attempt to add the Gran Prix of Sochi in Russia to the tour, the UCI last year added two one-day events in Canada, the Grand Prix Cycliste de Québec and Grand Prix Cycliste de Montréal to the otherwise European calendar.
The Tour of California has been reportedly seeking to join the World Tour, but objections over the exclusion of the USA's top domestic teams and other factors have delayed its entry.
Teams have threatened to use the UCI's desire to globalise the sport against it over the issue of banned race communications, and could boycott the Tour of Beijing if the rule is not reversed.