UPDATE 6th March 2017:
The Silk Road Challenge has been removed from the 2017 IDF tour. The previously proposed road was denied a permit by the local government. The event organizer found another road that did have government permission, but the road had a number of dangerous features and also needed repaving. With only six weeks until the scheduled start of the event, the risk of delays with the repaving, as well as likely difficulties with making the track safe enough, meant that removing IDF sanctioning was the best option. The event organizer has informed us that they intend to still attempt to those the event but with the timing and uncertainty the IDF is no longer able to be involved.
We sincerely apologize to all of the riders that are affected by this decision. If you have already booked your flights please contact us and we will do our best to assist you with your plans.
We hope to see an event in China on the IDF calendar in 2018.
Article from 2nd March 2017:
The Silk Road Challenge has been downgraded from WC to WQS status due to the race organizer failing to receive government approval for the event as of today. If government approval is not received by March 4th the IDF will withdraw its sanctioning completely.
Riders should not book flights or make travel arrangements for the Silk Road Challenge until further information from the race organiser is made available, and published here.
It goes without saying that this is bad news, especially for people who have already made travel arrangements. We ask that riders who have already bought plane tickets to China contact us so we can determine the scale of this issue. We deeply regret the inconvenience and expense this change may cause.
Last year’s Yuping Cup featured incredible organization and resources, and portrayed a world class event. We fully expected the Silk Road Challenge to live up to these standards. The event was submitted to us in September 2016 and at that date the organizers had already been working with the Chengdu government to gain approval for the event. The government had not expressed concern about the race until late February, and this put the organizer, and subsequently the IDF, in a bad situation considering how soon the event was due to begin.
With the alternative track still not confirmed, and thus a real possibility that the event will not happen, we believe it is best to downgrade the status of the event.
The background timeline over the past week is as follows:
February 23: The event organizer informed us that the Chengdu government had denied their permission to use the planned road near Chengdu and told us the event was being switched to an alternative road near Wuhan. We were led to believe that there were no issues with permission to use this road.
February 24: We received photos and video of the track near Wuhan and decided that it met our standards. The stone in the road was unusual, but could be made safe through appropriate hay-baling.
February 26: We published the news of the change in track from Chengdu to Wuhan at 10:30am CET on the IDF website. At 6pm CET we received information from a third party regarding a potential government approval issue with the Wuhan location. Colin Beck arranged an urgent meeting with the organizer in which the organizer revealed the issues with government approval.
February 27: At 9am CET the Federico Barboni and Colin Beck held a meeting with the organizer. The organizer addressed our questions regarding the safety and organization of the event. He informed us that government approval for the event was likely, but not certain, and that it would not be known for some time.
March 1: We decided to downgrade the Silk Road Challenge to WQS, and set a deadline of March 4 for the organizer to 100% confirm that the event would be held at the Wuhan track. If we do not receive confirmation by this date we will withdraw our sanctioning of the race.