SHANGHAI, China, May 4, 2017 -- The Tour of Chongming Island, a key race on the new UCI Women's World Tour calender will run from May 5 to 7. The Asian leg of the UCI Women's World Tour is once again bringing the world's best cyclists together to race across one of Shanghai's ecological wonderlands.
This year's tour of Chongming Island, the first multi-day event in a series of 20 worldwide, welcomes over 100 cyclists to compete in teams of six from over 14 different countries and regions across the globe.
With over 365 kilometers to cover, this year's track is likely to be as much a test of athletic endurance as it is a display of Chongming Island's natural beauty. For those of you who love a good bike race but are trapped in the metro area for the weekend, CCTV will be covering the event in a series of five live broadcasts.
According to the press release from the 2017 UCI Women's World Tour (Tour of Chongming Island) Organizing Committee, there are three important characteristics to look for in this year's Chongming Island Tour.
First, this time around, the track's design better reflects the ecological ethos of Chongming, providing a more comprehensive picture of the island's beauty to competitors and spectators alike. The three-day race course is as varied as its scenery is beautiful, passing through virtually every village on the island, as well as a string of famous travel spots such as Dongping Forest Park, Mingzhu Lake Park and Xisha Wetlands. Contrasts will abound as cyclists cross the awe-inspiring Shanghai Yangtze River Bridge, and then move on to tranquil park paths. They will be struck by the splendor of Dongtan Avenue, as well as the rustic charm of countryside bypaths.
Also of note is the added touch of professionalism to the competition. This year's Tour of Chongming Island will feature more international referees, as compared to previous iterations of the event. Additionally, a trackside viewing platform has been specially constructed at the finish line. This added attention to detail will not go unnoticed by the competitors, and will be sure to make the viewing experience more enjoyable for spectators.
Lastly, in addition to the main event, a wide variety of other entertaining activities will also be featured. Included among these are the 6S Children's Bike Draft, during which children from ages six to 11 will be participating in a series of contests to select the "most photogenic," "most energetic" and "most adorable" kids. Also to be featured is the PDM Amateur Bike Competition and the bike carnival from previous years.
These characteristics aside, this year's Chongming Island Tour stands out because of what it implies for the future of Shanghai's Eco-Island. 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 is a path to form the framework of a modernized ecological island by 2020. By 2040, Wang says, Chongming will be "characterized by green development, culture, wisdom and sustainability." Whether the "development" that happens under this plan really has the island's ecological best interests in mind is up for debate, but, for now at least, Chongming's natural beauty is still worth a visit.