As professional road cycling continues to spread its global wings, it has been fascinating to witness the number of Asian, Australian and Kiwi cyclists breaking into the top echelon of professional road cycling; sometimes via quite long and convoluted pathways. Starting with Oceania, Cycling iQ looks at where “home” is for these pioneering riders.
The most time-consuming part of any article, especially an analysis piece, at Cycling iQ is research. One of the great by-products of combing through large amounts of information is the discovery of interesting files and documents. InSight posts will be published whenever a notable find deserves a wider airing.
Consistently amongst the top three UCI AsiaTour nations, Japan has been a force within the professional road cycling scene long before 2005, when the UCI Continental Circuits calendar was born. Regional success aside, Japan still punches below its weight at a WorldTour level – but Cannondale has a development plan.
Merida Industry Co., Ltd, Taiwan’s second largest bicycle manufacturing company after Giant Manufacturing Co., Ltd, is now actively pursuing entry to the Tour de France. But first, the brand needs a team. Cycling iQ spoke about the barriers to entry with Merida VP, William Jeng, at Taipei Cycle show last week.
In 2005, the UCI introduced major reforms to disrupt the Euro-centricity of professional cycling and promote the sport’s “globalisation”. Tomorrow, the 2.HC-ranked Tour of Qatar will initiate the 8th UCI Asia Tour season. Cycling iQ investigates the reform’s outcomes in the Middle East and asks a former UCI administrator for his take.
In an effort to curb the rising costs of doing business on the mainland, Advanced International Multitech Co Ltd (AIM), a publicly-listed OEM to some of the world’s most evocative bicycle and golfing brands, intends to migrate Chinese production lines back into its Taiwan operations.
Country of registration – and even sponsor origin – is only a base indicator of professional cycling’s national roots. The regional creep of cycling’s popularity is globalising the professional peloton, especially at the UCI Continental level. Cycling iQ looks at the national makeup of each UCI division for the 2012 season.
Watching Special Broadcasting Service’s (SBS) live coverage of the Australian national road cycling championships last weekend, it was impossible to ignore the weight of UCI WorldTour team jerseys. Whether Australia is a globally competitive road cycling nation is no longer a question.
Lately, sponsorship uncertainty has shadowed the apex teams of professional road cycling like a Grim Reaper. Potentially, this creates a trickle-down alert for prospective sponsors seeking to engage even at UCI Continental levels – destabilizing the sport’s future funding pipeline. It’s diligent to have a wider arsenal.
From rather humble beginnings as a maker of bicycle products for other brands, to becoming the world’s largest manufacturer of bicycles, Giant Manufacturing Co Ltd has pioneered global brand development in the bicycle industry. From the outside, it might appear that Giant has done it all, and has it all.