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March 27, 2010

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Women's World Cup bicycle racers gear up for Chongming

A major international women's cycling event will be touring Chongming Island from May 5 to 9, attracting top riders from around the world. It includes two events, a top-rated 2.1 race on May 5-7 and a World Cup race on May 9.

The 2010 UCI Women Road World Cup will be held on May 9, the first in the International Cycling Union Road Women's World Cup calendar. It will be part of the Tour of Chongming Island and 2010 UCI Women Road World Cup.

The scenic island county, considered an environmentally friendly oasis, features an eco-town powered by alternative energy sources as well as organic agriculture and wetlands.

"The world cup is of great significance. It is the biggest international cycling race that China has ever hosted in history," says Zhao Qi, director of the Chongming County.

The 2010 UCI Women Road World Cup will cover 138.6 kilometers, and the 2.1 race will cover about 131.4 kilometers.

Both events are organized by the International Cycling Union, the General Administration of Sports of China and the Shanghai government.

Scheduling the World Cup event in Chongming demonstrates the UCI's confidence in the county and the Shanghai government. The recently opened Changjiang Tunnel-Bridge, which connects the island with downtown Shanghai, will be part of the course, as well as Changxing Town.

Han Jilin, an official from General Administration of Sports of China, says road cycling races have been held at places more than 5,000 meters above sea level.

"People might concern about the wind condition or radian at the Changjiang Tunnel-Bridge,'' Han says at yesterday's press conference.

The World Cup race will pass through 16 towns in the county.

Organizers have invited the top 20 women's teams in a ranking by the UCI as well as the top five national teams.

Rankings are based on the accumulated points of the best four riders in each team.

The Tour of Chongming Island will feature the world's top 20 teams from countries such as the Netherlands, Germany, Australia, Italy, France and Britain.

The environmentally friendly island has a long history of holding cycling races. In the past seven years, it has held three national cycling races and four international ones.

From 2006 to 2009, it attracted more than 10 famous national teams from around the world.

Chongming Island covers 1,411 square kilometers and is China's third largest island, after Taiwan and Hainan. Its pristine scenery, crisscrossed by flat roads, make it ideal for cycling.

As the Changjiang Tunnel-Bridge has recently opened, new cycling routes are possible and access to the island for fans is much easier.

Zhao, director of Chongming County, says the cycling races have become a window for the world to know Chongming and a platform to attract investment.

"The cycling world cup has also been listed as one of the activities during the World Expo 2010 Shanghai by the city government. It will surely be a feast. Chongming people will show their hospitality to friends all over the world," he says.

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