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New Tour of Beijing to be part of World Tour

UCI and Chinese officials sealed the deal Wednesday to clear the way for a new, multi-day stage race in China

UCI and Chinese officials sealed the deal Wednesday to clear the way for a new, multi-day stage race in China set to be part of the World Tour calendar in 2011.

UCI president Pat McQuaid signed documents with Chinese officials to confirm that the long sought-after race in China will be part of the international calendar next year. Talk of a Chinese race for 2010 petered out last year, but this latest four-year agreement confirms that China will host a major event next season.

The inaugural Tour of Beijing will be held around China’s capital city from October 5-9.

“We all know that Asia is an enormous reservoir of talent and passion for our sport,” McQuaid said in a UCI release Wednesday. “And I am convinced that the whole movement will enjoy the benefits that an event of this magnitude will generate.”

China has hosted racing events before, and continues to back the Qinghai Lake tour each summer, but the new event marks a much higher profile entrée into international cycling.

Chinese officials are hoping to promote cycling at home as well as maintain some of the momentum that came from hosting the 2008 Olympic Summer Games.