As a former coach for Chinese cyclists, Saxo Bank-Sungard's directeur sportif Philippe Mauduit has a fine knowledge about what the Tour of Beijing means for national athletes.
Asked if the new WorldTour race would help domestic cycling to develop, French directeur sportif says: "It's very difficult to say. Cycling in China is not a sport. People don't recognise it. I had some talks with people in the public and they have no clue about the race."
During his time working for the national program, between 2002 and 2004, he says the athletes did only five or six races. "They didn't go out of the country, except for the Asian Games and, if they were qualified, for the Olympics", Mauduit told Cyclingnews in a video interview.
The situation seems to have barely changed, mainly due to the very small race schedule and "the few athletes" available.
Mauduit concludes the Chinese authorities "have to restructure the way they are organising cycling if they want to have some good athletes".