Together with around 17 experienced division managers and chauffeurs from the Tour de Suisse, General Manager Olivier Senn will be responsible for the sporting part of the Tour of Guangxi multi-stage race in China from 19-24 October 2017. He expects unforgettable experiences of superlatives.
Olivier Senn has already travelled to the Far East four times in the past twelve months with destination Guangxi. China’s Wanda Sports Group, owner of Infront Sports & Media, already entrusted the TdS organisers at InfrontRingier with a very special mandate a year ago. “The Wanda Group would like to develop cycling racing in China together with the UCI,” explains Olivier Senn. “With the Tour of Guangxi, she is helping to make the breathtaking landscape of this region famous worldwide.” For the Tour de Suisse organizers, this mandate is an exciting challenge. “Partly because we are asked basic questions. This is also how we actively question our own organization.”
Know-how transfer to China
For the first edition, the Tour de Suisse organisers are making available some of their long-standing divisional managers in the racing field, as well as the sporting director David Loosli. “Since many of them are otherwise engaged in other work, they had to take extra holidays.” The TdS people are there to help the Chinese “The goal is that in a few years the local organizers will be able to run the race themselves according to UCI standards,” said Olivier Senn. The exchange is intensive. In the last weeks before the event, Senn telephoned and e-mailed with the Chinese practically every day. In China, the experienced chauffeurs of the TdS race management will also be present. “It was important to me that during the race we could be understood immediately with one word,” emphasises Senn. “A stranger’s driver would be bound to have communication problems.”
700 km of new roads in a fantastic landscape
The province of Guangxi is located at sea level, in the very southwest on the border with Vietnam, and is considered the largest tourist region in China. The weather is tropical. “The streets and rivers are all very clean”, Olivier Senn rebuttons any prejudices. “I was pleasantly surprised, felt very safe and well taken care of at all times during my visits.”
The race over six stages leads over mostly flat or hilly terrain. “There is only one mountain arrival at a monastery with a climb of about 400 metres in altitude”, Olivier Senn reveals. “A race made for driver types like Peter Sagan or Michael Matthews.”
For the first edition of the Tour of Guangxi nothing seems impossible. Almost 700 kilometres of new roads were paved especially for the race and around 30,000 facades were renovated. “A valuable addition to the tourist region.” Olivier Senn was always amazed during his visits how much is possible in China within a very short time.
The race does without a time trial and always focuses on circuits. The capital of the province, the metropolis of Nanning with more than 7 million inhabitants, even organizes a stage finish, a circuit the next day and another stage start the day after. The circuit, which can be driven four times, leads through the most beautiful parts of the city and ends on the 7-kilometre-long, dead-straight main axis through the city. 16 of the 18 UCI WorldTour Teams are at the start of the Tour of Guangxi. Of the big teams only AG2R and FDJ are missing. Eurosport broadcasts daily recordings of the stages.
19.10. Stage 1 – Beihai ‘ Beihai (109.6km)
20.10. Stage 2 – Qinzhou ‘ Nanning (160km)
21.10. Stage 3 – Nanning ‘ Nanning (128.8km)
22.10. Stage 4 – Nanning ‘ Mashan Nongla Scenic Spot (154km)
23.10. Stage 5 – Liuzhou ‘ Guilin (217km)
24.10. Stage 6 – Guilin ‘ Guilin (173km)