Sports / Cycling

UCI president Cookson sees potentials of Chinese cycling sport

(Xinhua) Updated: 2014-08-18 17:12

NANJING, China - The International Cycling Union (UCI) president Brian Cookson Monday said Chinese cycling is blessed with a bright future and he is looking forward to watching Chinese cycling stars to come to the spotlight.

Cookson, on a visit to the Nanjing 2014 Youth Olympics, is due to meet the head of the Chinese Cycling Association and to also give his suggestions to China.

"China has a great potential in cycling sport. I know there's young potential talents in China who have to be given opportunities and we already see some of them coming out almost by accident."

Cookson cited Ji Cheng, who became the first rider from China to compete at the Tour de France this season, as a latest example and ranked him as a "very strong cyclist".

Ji, who's trained with North China's Heilongjiang provincial team, joined the Netherlands-based Giant-Shimano team at the top-class event this summer. Prior to the Tour de France, Ji, 26, has already completed other top races and started to make splash on world stage.

Cookson said: "If you can have one by accident, you can have two, but if you have a structure, you will have many more."

"China needs to invest more. If you look at the success of Britain cycling in recent years, you can see we put a lot from the national lottery into the sport. Let's focus on the Olympic success. When you do that, you will get more funds, more coaching and talents, and when people see the success, they will become more involved in the sport," Cookson added.

"You need a structure, you have to find out the talent, you need a regional coaching system and developing program. The national cycling association don't win medals, individual athletes win medals. The job of the governing body is to provide the circumstances where athletes can achieve full potentials and resources to support the athletes.

"To compete at Olympic level in any sport, it is not cheap. China now is one of the biggest economies on the planet. If it chooses to do, it can invest more like we do and make success."

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