Cycling World Championships could be on the way to Hong Kong, hope local organisers
World championships possible target if January’s event is a success
The success of next month’s maiden track UCI World Cup in Hong Kong could pave the way for more international competitions with the world championships a possible target, a senior cycling official said.
Leung Hung-tak, chairman of the Hong Kong Cycling Association (HKCA), said they would consider staging a leg of the World Cup series again in 2017 if the response to the inaugural event, to be held at the Hong Kong Velodrome in Tseung Kwan O on January 15-17, was heartening.
They also planned to have more top-class competitions such as the world junior championships and even the world championships.
“We have a top-class facility in place and if we can sort out the financial side, we are likely to go for more world-class events in future,” said Leung.
“The World Cup next month can test the waters. If it turns out to be a great success, I am sure it will get the attention of more potential commercial sponsors so they can play a pivotal role in organising future events.”
The HK$600 million velodrome obtained approval from the UCI to organise world-class events when it opened in late 2013. A UCI delegation also visited the venue two months ago for approving preparation works for next month’s event.
Leung is confident they will not need to go into the red – the budget is HK$9 million – with HKCA office bearers underwriting the shortfall after a government subsidy through the Major Sports Events Fund and commercial income such as sponsorship, ticketing and merchandising.
But they want to establish a better financial structure without relying on officials’ generosity.
“The Major Sports Events Fund is on a dollar-for-dollar matching basis and if we can secure more income, we can get more government subvention and the financial support of our officials will become less,” Leung said.
“Other than the World Cup, we can consider other events such as the junior world championships and the world championships after we gain more experience in running events of this scale.”
Leung said 38 national teams and seven trade teams had entered the three-day event with many of the cycling world powerhouses, such as Australia, Britain, the Netherlands, Germany, China and Russia on the star-studded list.
The British team will be headed by star rider Mark Cavendish, who wants to prove himself in the men’s omnium before representing his country in the discipline at the Rio Olympics.
Hong Kong’s Sarah Lee Wai-sze, China’s Guo Shuang and Australians Anna Meares and Stephanie Morton, who are riding for the Jayco-AIS trade team, are all confirmed starters.