Posted by jumpmedia
Date: 15th October 2012
Photo Credit: Graham Watson
The Tour of Beijing, the second edition of which finished on Saturday, might include more mountains and the opening time trial may even make a return in 2013.
There are some solid options that the Chinese UCI WorldTour is going to study, before the route of the next edition is designed.
The two-time winner Tony Martin (Omega Pharma-Quick Step) himself suggested to the organisers to add some climbs and notably a tough up-hill finish. In 2011 the German rouleur won through the individual time trial on the first day and he claimed victory in 2012 with his guts, going with the best climbers in the hilly stage two and attacking them in the final descent.
Martin, who is definitely a great ambassador for the race, put pressure on the organisers, expressing a lot of warm feelings before the start and saying that “the Tour of Beijing is one of the best organised races in the whole season.”
After the five day tour, Martin remained pleased, as you would expect given he retained his red leaders jersey for teh second year. “The race was as nice as last year; I really enjoyed it and plan to come again in 2013.”
The 2012 Tour of Beijing certainly provided a high level show, given the hilly course north to the Chinese capital and the event’s last position in the UCI WorldTour calendar, which offers the teams and riders a very last opportunity to take victories and UCI WorldTour points in order to stay within the world cycling’s first division in 2013.
Euskaltel-Euskadi, AG2R-La Mondiale and FDJ-BigMat had a competitive race in that purpose, but all the teams were motivated to wrap-up the season on a good note, including Team Sky which owns a huge amount of points however still tried hard to win the Tour of Beijing’s general classification with Edvald Boasson Hagen.
“The organization has been absolutely superb throughout, the course was more spectacular this year, and until the final stage, as with every other day, the riders really fought it out and it’s been a very good race with a very good winner,” UCI President Pat McQuaid said. “The riders do need a holiday now and get ready for next year and recharge the batteries, but they’ve been very impressive they way they’ve done their work.”
Numerous riders enjoyed the race’s conditions this year.
2008 road Olympic Champion Samuel Sanchez (Euskaltel-Euskadi) said: “The Tour of Beijing is certainly the safest cycling race in the world. There are a lot of people to grant our safety, the crossroads are very well protected. I don’t see how it could be better!”
Lithuania’s Ignas Konovalovas (Movistar Team) observed: “The evening before the race started we saw people cleaning the roads; this is really incredible to ride on such a course.”
The Chinese authorities successfully managed to deliver perfect safety whilst also generating crowds of fans alongside the route.
Best young rider Rafal Majka (Team Saxo Bank-Tinkoff Bank) pointed out that the “local people are extremely friendly and seem to enjoy cycling more and more.”
Pat McQuaid thinks the Tour of Beijing has reached its goal to promote cycling as a green way to travel in the City and a valuable sport in all the country. “We see more cyclists out on the road coming to the starts and finishes as well,” the UCI President said. “I think the Tour of Beijing itself is going to do a lot in the coming years to further develop the sport of cycling in China.”
The peloton was pleased to ride across green mountains in the north to Beijing, like the race’s best climber Dan Martin (Garmin-Sharp) who said: “Many people think Beijing is just a big city, but we obviously saw it’s more than that. It was great to explore the mountains and some fantastic scenery.”
Tom Jelte Slagter (Rabobank) noted the weather was interesting: “Every day we had a nice blue sky, which is good for us as riders as well as its good for telespectators which can enjoy the country.”
The Director of Global Cycling Promotion (GCP), Alain Rumpf, said he was envious of the riders who had the opprtounity to experience such amazing roads. “At this time of the year, nature and sun light provide a look to the Beijing area which completely matches the most iconic cycling places in the world.”
The start from Tien Anmen Square on Tuesday and the extraordinary finish at the foot of the Great Wall on Thursday will be an unforgettable experience to many.
Belgian talent Tim Wellens (Lotto-Belisol) explained “it was really worth it to come. Not only because I went 10th overall for my second year as a professional but also because it’s an interesting country to visit. Besides, my team went to see the Olympic Stadium before the race.”
FDJ-BigMat team went opposite the Bird’s Nest to see the Water Cube and Anthony Roux even swam in the training pool.
While most of the riders went to the Silk Market to buy some valuable souvenirs from their Beijing’s experience, Orica-GreenEdge attended the China Open tennis tournament before the race and RadioShack-Nissan planned to visit the Forbidden City after the last stage.
The Tour of Beijing had a special flavour for the Australian and New Zealand riders who were on their way home and picked up the Chinese race as an important stop. A few American’s also flew straight home from Beijing.
Moreover Alain Rumpf was happy to see the organisation’s improvements since last year.
“The local organisation committee did a fantastic job and showed every day a strong will to put on the best possible event,” said the GCP Director. Our organisation team has gained an important experience, and I would like to thank everyone, from Amaury Sport Organisation to our event consultant Expert Allan Rushton.”
A working meeting will happen about around the beginning of December to analyse the 2012 race and prepare the next one.
Alain Rumpf also said that “GCP is working with the UCI to make the Tour of Hangzhou happen in 2013, in the best conditions.”
“We will take note the comments from the riders, teams and media, and we are happy help the local organisation committee to keep improving that event,” he added.
Posted by jumpmedia