BEIJING — The International Cycling Union has announced broad plans to develop the sport in China in partnership with Wanda Sports.
The UCI says the deal includes creating a six-day Tour of Guangxi stage race on the World Tour calendar each October, China hosting the UCI’s end-of-season awards gala, and building a development center for young riders in China.
The UCI says China will also host the new Urban Cycling World Championships annually through 2019.
UCI President Brian Cookson says the deal is a “wonderful opportunity to engage with literally hundreds of millions more people.”
Wanda’s investment in cycling follows signing a four-World Cup sponsorship deal with FIFA in March.
The Wanda Sports Holding president and vice chairman is Philippe Blatter, a nephew of former FIFA President Sepp Blatter.
GENT, Belgium (AP) Olympic road champion Greg Van Avermaet won his second race in three days Sunday, beating fellow Belgian Jens Keukeleire in a two-man sprint finish to take the Gent-Wevelgem classic.
World champion Peter Sagan of Slovakia, who won last year’s race, finished third.
The 249-kilometer (154.7-mile) race through Belgium included two ascents of the steep, cobbled Kemmelberg hill, one of the iconic climbs of the spring classics season.
Last year’s race was overshadowed by the death of Belgian rider Antoine Demoitie after a fall.
Sagan fell Friday in the E3 Harelbeke, which Van Avermaet also won to add to his victory last month in Het Nieuwsblad.
BARCELONA, Spain (AP) Alejandro Valverde of Spain won his second Tour of Catalonia on Sunday.
Valverde secured the victory by finishing first in the 139-kilometer (86-mile) seventh stage, perfectly timing his final sprint at a hilltop overlooking Barcelona.
He finished the weeklong race more than one minute ahead of Alberto Contador and Marc Soler, who closed out the all-Spanish podium.
Valverde won despite receiving a one-minute time penalty Wednesday after race officials ruled that some Movistar riders pushed one another in Tuesday’s team time trial.
The 36-year-old Valverde had won two other stages.
Valverde also won the race in northeastern Spain in 2009, the same year he clinched the Spanish Vuelta for his only Grand Tour title.
Three-time Tour de France winner Chris Froome fell out of contention during Saturday’s stage.