The 2019 Tour of Chongming Island, or the 10th leg of the 2019 UCI Women’s World Tour, opened yesterday and runs through Saturday, attracting more than 100 of the world’s best cyclists, according to the 2019 UCI Women’s World Tour (Tour of Chongming Island) Organizing Committee.

About a quarter of Chongming Island is covered with trees. Elsewhere organic farms produce vegetables and fruit. Natural wetlands, fresh air and clean waterways have made the island a favorite getaway for those seeking a respite from urban life.

When the island hosts the 2021 China Flower Expo, forest coverage in the expo site will rise to 35 percent, and will increase to 50 percent after the event. Renewable energy will supply more than 20 percent of demand.

Last year, all surface water on the island reached the quality standard and the air quality was excellent on 86.3 percent of days. Almost all the household garbage was recycled.

By 2040, Chongming, a world-class eco-isalnd, will be characterized by “green development, culture, wisdom and sustainability“. The natural wet-land coverage will be 45 percent and river area 10.3 percent.

Not only a world-class destination for eco-tourism, Chongming is also an eco-island of sports. Thanks to the international cycling event, Chongming is attracting more attention worldwide.

Sports fun going beyond cycling

Held from 2003, the UCI Women’s World Tour is established to accommodate the fast growth of women’s cycling and accompany it into the future. Eighteen teams — each consisting of six cyclists — will compete in the main races. Strong competitors include Cogeas Mettler Look Pro Cycling Team, China Liv Pro Cycling Team and Hitec Products CBirk Sport Team.

With 347.7 kilometers to cover, this year’s course is as much a test of endurance as it is a display of the island’s natural beauty. The races pass through virtually every town on the island, as well as a string of travel destinations such as Changxing PhoenixDongping Forest and Mingzhu Lake parks. Contrasts abound as cyclists cross the Shanghai Yangtze River Bridge and move on to tranquil park paths.

A five-day carnival helps to get the general public involved in the event. The carnival features virtual reality cycling games, local snacks, crafts shops, cycling exhibitions and amateur competitions — Plogging, Flash Pig and “The Croods” cycling races. To prepare for the 2021 China Flower Expo, there will be flower exhibitions as well. “The amateur competition brings local fans closer to the races,” said Chongming Sports Bureau Director, Gong Yaofei.

Chongming Island wants to go beyond cycling in offering sports and events for the public. One of the city’s biggest competitive sports training centers, Shanghai Chongming Sports Training Center, opened on March 29. In the future, there will be an indoor cycling center on the island. In the meantime, the office of Asia cycling association will be built too.

Chongming, a paradise of sports, will bring various sports events to the public include jogging, football, basketball, tennis and water sports such as kayaking, rowing and dragon-boat racing. Since 2014, marathons and other races have attracted professional and amateur runners from all over the world. The recent rock marathon attracted more than 6,000 runners.

Along the routes, the seasonal environment changes in delightful ways. For examplesZhongxing Town is awash with cherry blossoms in spring. In Xincun Village, there is the sweet scent of osmanthus in the golden autumn while Miaozhen Town features maple trees that turn a brilliant scarlet in the fall. The paths through Luhua Town follow the banks of scenic lakes and pass by tangerine orchards. Changxing Town features a four-season scenic area, complete with bicycle rental stations and service centers.