Six members of the Beijing Olympic Development Association (BODA) visited the UCI headquarters in Aigle, Switzerland, this week.
Set up after the 2008 Beijing Olympics, BODA works to promote Beijing as a modern, cultural and green city as well as an international sports hub. Its Vice-President Liu Jingmin was Beijingâs Vice-mayor in charge of sport when the UCI signed a four-year contract with the City of Beijing in 2011 for the staging of the UCI WorldTour stage race, the Tour of Beijing.
Liu Jingmin was in Switzerland this week with BODA Deputy Director Han Wen and four other members of the association to attend the 2013 Summit of the World Union of Olympic Cities in Lausanne. They also took the opportunity to travel to Aigle to meet Brian Cookson and Alain Rumpf, Director of Global Cycling Promotion (GCP). GCP, a wholly owned subsidiary of the UCI, provides technical know-how and logistical assistance to the organisers of the Tour of Beijing.
Among ideas to develop cycling in the Chinese capital would be to launch a mass participation âcycling for allâ event in parallel with the Tour of Beijing. This would create a stronger connection between the professional stage race and the local population.
âIt is very encouraging to witness such commitment to cycling from the people of Beijing,â commented Mr Cookson after the meeting. âCycling is one of the worldâs most accessible sports, and the UCI is constantly striving to ensure that it is practised throughout the world by people of all backgrounds and physical abilities. The organisation of a mass participation event alongside the Tour of Beijing would be in line with our strategy. It would give many thousands of cyclists a chance to ride together and at the same time feel involved in a major UCI WorldTour event.â
Mr Rumpf underlined the dynamic and forward-thinking initiatives of the Chinese municipality and the cityâs sporting bodies, who promoted cycling as a leisure activity, a green means of transport and a healthy sport. âGCP has worked closely with the City of Beijing for several years and during that time the city has demonstrated its determination to develop cycling at all levels,â he said.â