China’s first-ever UCI Cyclocross event, the 2013 “Qiansen Trophy” UCI C2 Cyclocross Event, is proving not to be some small modest inaugural event. The event, hosted in Badalingzhen, Yanqing, Beijing, China, in the shadow of the Great Wall, has flown in, all expenses paid, at least 117 racers, staff and media to attend the history-making event.
Forty Americans made the trip, by far the biggest attendance from any country, but even the top American racers are far from guaranteed to bring home the C1-level money or UCI points. Former Junior Cyclocross World Champion Arnaud Jouffroy, World Cup winner Dutchman Thijs Al, and Cross Country Eliminator World Champion Paul Van Der Ploeg will all toe the line on Saturday afternoon with an extremely diverse field.
Attendees by country (including staff and media) to the 2013 Qiansen Trophy UCI Cyclocross Event in China
The promoter was motivated to have a deep field and successful first event, and even attempted to bring 2013 World Champion Sven Nys [See our 10 questions with Sven Nys], but Nys, unlike a handful of Americans, did not want to get on a plane hours after racing (or in his case winning) Cross Vegas 2013.
The cyclist have been treated like stars, and have been housed, wined-and-dined with 14 course meals and taken on tours of The Great Wall and local scenery. With nearly 120 people attending, the event is estimated to have incurred at least $300,00 in travel and housing expenses alone, in addition to production costs and UCI C1-level prize money. The 2013 “Qiansen Trophy” UCI C2 Cyclocross Event could very well be the world’s richest, or most expensive, cyclocross race.
The biggest cx barrier ever? The Great Wall in Badaling, Yanqing, China. © Vin Crosbie on flickr
Not only are racers from around the world attending the event, but the UCI’s head of cyclocross, Peter van den Abeele is expected to attend and oversee the event. Will he enforce UCI frame stickers and tire widths? We will see.
While we’re waiting on a complete startlist from the promoter, but here are some of the Americans expected to be at the start line at the UCI cyclocross race in China:
Stay tuned as we bring you more details and coverage of the inaugural event. But please note: Cyclocross Magazine has reporters on the ground, but due to visa technicalities and complications, they are not supposed to be doing “work” to report on the event. Thus this report is constructed from personal reports from attendees and posted from the UK. We do not want 100% of our full-time staff to be in trouble with Chinese authorities.