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World Cycling Center builds legacy of knowledge in satellites

By sportswriters Shan Lei, Liu Ning

AIGLE, Switzerland, Nov. 23 (Xinhua) — After 21 years of dedication to world cycling development, the UCI’s World Cycling Center (WCC) has become more than just a top-level training center for elite cyclists; it also serves as the initiator of a legacy of knowledge. Jacques Landry, UCI WCC Director, told Xinhua on Wednesday at the UCI headquarters in the Swiss town of Aigle that they are now considering adding a new training center in Shanghai to their list of global satellites. “I was recently in China to meet with the president of the Chinese Cycling Association. One of the reasons for my visit in October is because there’s been discussion on the table to open a satellite in Chongming Island,” Landry said. “I was amazed by the facility already over there. Right now the application is coming in.” Established in 2002, the WCC was aimed at providing the best training facility to athletes of different levels. Until now, around 1,200 athletes have participated in courses here, including world champions and Olympic medalists. “Our role is basically to broaden the horizons of cycling across the globe and not only specifically in Europe. The best way of doing that is to start working with the emerging nations and in nations that want to actually develop,” Landry said. Among the 203 UCI members, 151 national federations are considered emerging nations, including all from Africa and South America, as well as some from Asia and central America. Landry explained that the criteria are based on GDP, number of members under national federations, and number of international cycling events held annually. “China is not an emerging nation, but we want to provide some guidance in terms of building a sustainable development plan for Chinese athletes in cycling,” he added. Currently, there are eight WCC satellites, including those in South Africa, South Korea and Japan. “What we do is to put a label on the satellites. We send top coaches and mechanical teams to help them build their own coaching and mechanical teams. We build a legacy of knowledge in that country or in that region, to let regional culture come up and continue to develop,” he noted. According to the UCI, the future is bright for Chinese cycling. “One of the things that we did talk about [with the CCA] was which disciplines to focus on, on the Olympic side of things. There are five Olympic disciplines — BMX freestyle, BMX racing, track, road, and mountain bike. There are a lot of [chances], given the talent pool in China. There’s high probability of success if there’s a certain amount of focus on BMX freestyle, because China has a very, very good gymnastics program, and there’s a good crossover to BMX freestyle,” Landry explained. China won gold in the women’s track team sprint at the 2020 Tokyo Olympics, retaining the title they won for the first time at Rio 2016. “The International Federation is there to regulate the sport and to put rules in place. But I think that is the firm approach of what the International Federation is doing. The softer side of what the International Federation is doing is for the development of the sport, and that’s really what the World Cycling Center does. We are the development arm of the International Federation, and I think they both work really well, hand in glove,” he said. The World Cycling Center was founded in 2002 to celebrate the UCI’s 100th anniversary, featuring a 200-meter indoor velodrome, a BMX racing track, and other non-cycling facilities. Landry, a former road race Olympian in Barcelona 1992 and Atlanta 1996 for Canada, was appointed director of the WCC in March 2022. “Since the opening of the World Cycling Center, we have about 1,200 athletes that have come through here. The cost of an athlete on average is about 9,000 Swiss francs a month. This becomes a bit of the United Nations of cycling, because you have so many nations come here, and what’s good for athletes is they’re able to learn other cultures at the same time,” Landry said. BMX racing first appeared at the Olympic Games at Beijing 2008, and the BMX freestyle had its debut at Tokyo 2020. The UCI plans to feature 19 disciplines of cycling at the 2027 Cycling World Championships, both Olympic and non-Olympic events, to bring more energy and urban aspects to the sport. “Our strategy is to keep the youth engaged. I think it is a key and UCI is doing a good job in terms of keeping the sport young and lively,” Landry said. Enditem

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