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May 20, 2017

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Eco-friendly Chongming Island bets big on sports

THE Tour of Chongming Island, a key race of the UCI Women’s World Tour calendar, is not the only sporting event on the island, which prides itself as a venue for all ecological related activities.

A wide variety of other sporting and entertaining events were also part of the action.

The Asian leg of the UCI Women’s World Tour was held from May 5 to 7. It was the 15th edition of the race that brought the world’s best cyclists together to race across one of Shanghai’s ecological wonderlands.

The three-day stage-race event attracted 20 of the world’s best women’s road cycling teams, including Team Hitec Products, Ale Cipollini and China Chongming-Liv-Champion System Pro Cycling.

With over 365 kilometers to cover, this year’s track was as much a test of athletic endurance as it was a display of Chongming Island’s natural beauty.

The race started and finished at Xincheng Park on Chongming Avenue. The route’s design reflected the ecological ethos of Chongming, providing a more comprehensive picture of the island’s beauty to competitors and spectators alike.

The three-day race was varied, passing through virtually every village on the island as well as a string of famous spots such as Dongping Forest Park, Mingzhu Lake Park and Xisha Wetland.

There were contrasts as cyclists crossed the awe-inspiring Shanghai Yangtze River Bridge, and then moved on to tranquil park paths. They were struck by the splendor of Dongtan Avenue as well as the rustic charm of countryside.

Jolien D’hoore of Wiggle High5 (WHT) was the biggest winner. The 27-year-old Belgian rider won the yellow jersey with the best overall time of 9:24:09 in the points classification.

“It was so exciting to race on Chongming Island,” said D’hoore. “I am good with the change of wind and narrow roads and really enjoyed the view.”

Besides sporting activity, Chongming Island is an ideal place to enjoy a pleasant weekend with family and friends with its 24 percent forest coverage, winding roads, calm lakes, quite village paths and delicious local food.

When you come to Chongming, be sure to bring your sports gear and take advantage of this stunning island’s many athletic amenities.

Eco-island and sports fun

Chongming’s passion for cycling doesn’t fade when the elites of women’s cycling leave town. There are other events like the 6S Children’s Bike Draft in which children between the ages of six to 11 participate in a series of contests to select the “most photogenic,” “most energetic” and “most adorable” kids.

Also featured was the PDM Amateur Bike Competition and bike carnival.

At the beginning of the year, Shanghai announced its “Chongming World-Class Eco-Island Development 13th Five-year Plan (2016-2020).”

According to Chongming District Deputy Director Wang Jing, the plan was a path to form the framework of a modernized ecological island by 2020.

By 2040, Chongming will be “characterized by green development, culture, wisdom and sustainability,” Wang said.

The “ecological lanes” of Chongming Island offer nice views and a peaceful environment for jogging and cycling. The 220km of cycling track and 42km marathon track around the riverbank will be ready by the end of 2018.

Besides, the styles of these lanes change as they pass through different areas of the island.

Xincun village is the cradle of sweet scented osmanthus, while Miaozhen Town features trident maple trees that change color with the season. When spring hits the island, Zhongxing Town is covered in cherry blossoms.

In Luhua Town, cyclists can ride past a scenic lake and quench their thirst with local tangerines. Changxing Town features a four-season scenic area complete with four cycling rental stations and service centers.

Chongming Island not only prides itself for offering the perfect track for cycling, but also for athletics, football and other outdoor sports.

Since 2014, marathons and other races on the island have attracted scores of professional and amateur runners from all over the world. The 42km ecological lane at Sanxing Town is very suitable for joggers, thanks to its forest and open field views.

Big plans

In the future, there will be four public sports centers and a sports park. The park at Chengqiao Town, covering an area of more than 50 hectares, will feature stadiums, football, basketball, tennis fields and a water-sports area designed to accommodate rowers, kayakers and dragon boat racing teams. Sports centers are also planned for Hengsha Village, Changxing, Baozhen and Miaozhen towns. They will include amenities for swimming, table-tennis, badminton, indoor rock climbing, squash, basketball and jogging.

There will also be the seasonal dragon boat racing, equestrian, forest marathon, rollerskating races and triathlon.

“With its eco-friendly environment and good air quality, Chongming Island has great natural resources to build an ecological outdoor sports paradise,” said Tang Hailong, the head of Chongming District. “We are aiming to meet the demands of the citizens’ passion for sports.”


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