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Tour de France organisers announce Shanghai criterium for October

Josh Cunningham
23 Mar 2017

End-of-season race to be preceded by new sportive, 'Etape China'

The Amaury Sports Organisation (ASO), organisers of the Tour de France, have announced two new cycling events to be held in China later this year at a press conference in Shanghai on Tuesday night. 

Acting as a relaxed end of season affair similar to the Saitama Criterium in Japan, which is also an ASO race, the 'Tour de France China Criterium' will be a pro race held in Shanghai on the 28th and 29th  October. 

The race intends to bring together some big-name riders from WorldTour teams, as well as a selection of Chinese pros, in a peloton of 60 riders. The 3-kilometre circuit is set to be based around the sites of the China Art Museum, just south of the famous Bund stretch of river and the distinctive skyline of the financial district.  

Preceding the pro race will be a sportive, the 'Etape China', which will be based in the city of Changsha in central Hunan province.

China's history with bicycles as a means of transport is of course huge, and today - despite cars having replaced many - there remains 450 million of them in the country. As such, ASO say that 'Several thousand enthusiasts are expected for this 1st edition [of the sportive], which now calls for others to respond to the growing enthusiasm of the Chinese for whom cycling is more than a sport; it is historical a way of life.'

China has an assortment of UCI races on the Asia Tour calendar, but it's only 'big' pro race, the Tour of Beijing, was scrapped by organisers in 2014. The Tour of Guangxi however is a new addition to the calendar, held in October, and has found a place on the UCI WorldTour for the next three years. 

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