Cycling races attract more riders in China

(People's Daily Online) 10:44, December 04, 2023

Since this year, distinctive road cycling events have been held across China, showcasing the sport's thriving vitality in the country, and cycling has become a popular sport among Chinese people in recent years.

The first Desafío China by La Vuelta-Beijing Changping kicked off in Beijing's Changping district in June, marking the expansion of the world's three major cycling competitions in China. This highlighted the importance of the country's cycling market.

"Over a decade ago, some enthusiasts rode with leather shoes at cycling events, and many of them couldn't complete the events. Now, cycling events attract more and more participants with increasingly professional cycling equipment," said Yang Yanli, a veteran of cycling races.

Cyclists compete during the men's MTB Race of the 18th China Huangshan (Yixian) International Cycling Open in Yixian, east China's Anhui Province. The cycling event kicked off here on Saturday. (Xinhua/Zhang Chen)

Yang has been involved in organizing the China Chengdu Tianfu Greenway International Bicycle Fan Fitness Festival, a cycling event that has been held for 14 consecutive years in Chengdu, capital of southwest China's Sichuan Province. Some records show that nearly 100,000 people have taken part in the fitness festival.

Yang said that the sport of cycling has been growing more rapidly in recent years, with mid- and high-end bikes for fitness selling very well, especially road bikes.

Aside from the popularity of mass cycling events, standards and the organization of professional road cycling races across China continue to improve.

The level of this year's Tour of Qinghai Lake international road cycling race was further raised, and the entire process of the race was broadcast live for the first time.

The first Tour of Huangshan international road cycling race was held in east China's Anhui Province in July. The event is part of the International Cycling Union (UCI) Asia Tour and a multi-day 2.2 UCI race, attracting many high-level teams.

The 2023 Tour of Guangxi took place in October in south China's Guangxi Zhuang Autonomous Region. The race, which returned after a three year hiatus, attracted 18 high-level teams, including China's national team.

The cycling fever has stimulated the vigorous growth of cycling events, created more consumption scenarios, and integrated with tourism, culture and other industries, injecting new vitality into economic growth.

The organizing committee of the 2023 Tour of Guangxi said the six-day race comprising six stages attracted over 1 million spectators at the venue. Places which co-hosted the race actively explored the "sports plus" development model to boost the development of tourism, catering and other sectors.

The 2023 Tour of Qiandao Lake road cycling race was recently staged in Chun'an county, east China's Zhejiang Province. Over 4,500 cycling enthusiasts participated in the race, setting a new record.

Han Feng, head of the competition service department of the Chinese Cycling Association, said that with economic and social development, outdoor sports have gained increasing popularity, expanding mass participation in cycling.

"This year, races hosted by the Chinese Cycling Association have 317 competition days, many of which attracting over 1,000 participants," Han said.

To increase people's participation in cycling, many races include non-competitive elements for amateurs such as family fun rides and youth races, offering more choices to cycling amateurs while expanding the influence of cycling.

For example, the 2023 Giro d'italia RIDE LIKE A PRO Yangtze River Delta Open in May was meant to involve more enthusiasts. The event that passed through Shanghai, Zhejiang and Jiangsu provinces attracted over 3,200 participants.

"Nowadays, more and more people opt for cycling, a low-carbon and eco-friendly way of transport. We hope that more people will engage in cycling by holding such events," said Zhong Tianshi, an Olympic track cycling champion and "ambassador" for the Giro d'italia RIDE LIKE A PRO Yangtze River Delta Open.

(Web editor: Hongyu, Liang Jun)