Sports\Team China

Le Tour takes Chinese detour

By Wang Zhenghua in Shanghai | China Daily | Updated: 2017-03-24 07:16

Le Tour takes Chinese detour
Andy Schleck, 2010 Tour de France winner and Ethan Juan, an actor from Taiwan, pose at Thursday's launch ceremony in Shanghai for Tour de France Events in China. [Photo/VCG]

The spirit of the Tour de France has been transported all the way from the French Alps to China.

Promising months of highlights for Chinese cycling fans, the world-famous 114-year race launched its Tour de France Events in China initiative at a star-studded showcase in Shanghai on Wednesday.

Featuring 2010 Tour winner Andy Schleck and Taiwan actor Ethan Juan, the ceremony at the landmark Oriental Pearl Tower was drenched in yellow light in homage to the race leader's famous yellow jersey.

Shanghai's Amaury Sport Organization has joined forces with Activation Group to kick off a set of dedicated TDF-themed events, including a top-level race called Le Tour de France China Criterium at the city's World Expo Park on Oct 29.

The 20-lap race, broadcast worldwide, will feature past TDF champions and current stars of the sport.

To promote the concept of green travel and healthy lifestyle, a 20 km amateur ride will be held prior to the criterium - Le Tour de France China Criterium Ride - starting from the Oriental Pearl Tower, via the Oriental Sports Center and finishing at the China Art Museum.

Organizers are aiming for over 1,000 cyclists of all ages to join the fun.

"Our ambition is to share the passion of the Tour de France worldwide," said ASO president Jean-Etienne Amaury.

"Every year, a growing number of riders, teams, fans, TV viewers, journalists and sponsors get passionate about the legend of Le Tour.

"The Tour de France is reinventing itself, evolving and developing every day to embrace the development of cycling."

Chinese cycling enthusiasts will also be invited to join "L'etape China by Le Tour de France" - a scenic long-distance ride through Wangcheng district in Changsha, Hunan province, on Sept 10.

The route will be completely closed to traffic in order to give the event a professional feel.

"We are very honored to be working with ASO to introduce the most prestigious cycling event to China," said Steve Lau, managing director of Activation Group.

"The arrival of official Tour de France Events in China undoubtedly ushers in a new historic moment for domestic cycling here.

"We hope that with the influence of Le Tour de France, more people will be engaged in cycling and inherit the riding spirit.

"We are optimistic Le Tour will enhance the glow of cycling and reach out to a wider audience."

He Qi contributed to this story.

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