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.
ADELAIDE, Australia (AP) Three-time world road race champion Peter Sagan of Slovakia has confirmed he will compete in the Tour Down Under in January, the opening World Tour event of the season.
Sagan won the world title last month for the third straight year, becoming the first cyclist to do so. He competed in the Tour Down Under for the first time last year, finishing second on three stages behind Australian sprinter Caleb Ewan.
Sagan, who rides for the BORA-hansgrohe team, said the six-stage Tour Down Under is “the perfect start to the UCI World Tour season each year … a challenging and tough course, warm weather and the passionate fans that cheer for us day in day out no matter what.”
SANTA ROSA, Calif. (AP) Former Olympic road cycling champion Samuel Sanchez, who returned a positive doping test in August, had his B-sample confirmed Wednesday and was promptly fired by the BMC Racing Team.
Sanchez’s out-of-competition test revealed growth hormone-releasing peptide 2, or GHRP-2, a drug that increases a body’s level of growth hormone. Several cyclists have tested positive for the drug, among them Italian rider Stefano Pirazzi, who was given a four-year ban earlier this week.
The U.S.-based BMC Team said in a statement Wednesday that it was adhering to its zero-tolerance policy toward doping by terminating the Spaniard’s contract “with immediate effect.”
The 39-year-old Sanchez, who had been provisionally suspended, won gold at the 2008 Beijing Games.