(From left to right: Hamburg Mayor Olaf Scholz, EuroEyes Founder Dr. Joergensen, Ironman Germany Representative Christian Toetzke)
“We found a perfect solution (to save Cyclassics).”——Hamburg Mayor Olaf Scholz
“Cyclassics is rescued, a milestone for Hamburg.”——Hamburg Abendblatt
“The huge stone in my heart has finally fallen…We will further develop Cyclassics”
Cyclassics - A Classical Race, a Crown Jewel
Since its debut in 1996, Cyclassics has been a renowned cycling race in Hamburg and is highly respected by cyclists all around Europe. For example, Jan Ullrich, champion of the 1997 Tour de France, also attended and eventually won the Cyclassics race the same year. For those who are familiar with international cycling races, Jan Ullrich is a famous name, he was the first German who has ever won the Tour de France. He was only 23 years old at the time, and was the youngest champion of the race. In 1998, the three year old Cyclassics replaced the Wincanton Classic, Britain’s only cycling classic, to become part of the UCI Road World Cup, cycling’s ten highest-classified one-day races, which highly confirmed the success and prestige of Cyclassics.
With cycling’s fast-growing popularity in Europe in the 1990s, there was a surge of cyclists, both professionals and amateurs throughout the years. Highly relevant to the demand, Cyclassics offers not only a professional race, but also a “Jedermannrennen”, Everyman’s race, which is an amateur event held on the same day and on the same roads as the professional race. The Jedermannrennen attracts tens of thousands cyclists every year, and because the number of participants is limited to 22,000, tickets are usually sold out months before the race starts. Now twenty years have passed by since Cyclassics debut, it has long become a landmark of Hamburg, as famous as the St. Michel Dome.
EuroEyes Saved Cyclassics in Crisis and Won Applause from Millions
However, all the prestige didn’t prevent Cyclassics from a deep crisis. In 2015, the previous title sponsor announced that it would not extend its partnership with Cyclassics. This was partially because its environmental policy was fiercely protested by Hamburg citizens. The announcement was so in a sudden that Cyclassics was not able to find a new partner in short notice. Worries were hanging in the air of Hamburg that the crown jewel might be lost or taken away. One can not imagine how devastating it is if the race is gone.
For Ironman Germany, the organizer of Cyclassics, the race is its crown jewel. Especially, this year’s Cyclassics is the first race since Ironman was acquired by the Chinese Conglomerate Wanda Group. If the race is canceled, it would be a big slap on the face for the mother company Wanda, and losing face is not acceptable by Chinese, in particular such a successful company in China. Although many other metropolitans in Europe have expressed their interest to host the race, Cyclassics would no longer be Cyclassics without Hamburg. It would be like a race without its soul, all the prestige would be gone. What’s more important is, if the race changes the location, it will lose its position as part of the UCI World Tour. This is not a consequence that Ironman can bear.
For the hosting city Hamburg, losing Cyclassics would be catastrophic. Hamburg has always been a pioneer in culture and sports. However, it has been suffering from many losses lately in the sports field. The ice hockey team was dissolved, the hand ball team was gone, the football team is in deep crisis…the city and its citizens can not take any loss any more. Losing Cyclassics would have been such a disaster that the humiliation and sadness would have been hovering in years to come. The Mayor Olaf Scholz knew its importance and had been working hard trying to save it. For those who are familiar with German politics, Olaf Scholz is one of the most important politicians in the country and is speculated to be the next German counsellor. When he learned that EuroEyes had come to the rescue of Cyclassics, he could not hold his excitement. Although never participates in sponsorship events, he attended the press conference of the EuroEyes Cyclassics and expressed his gratitude to EuroEyes. Despite his busy schedule, including a meeting with the current German Counsellor Angela Merkel that afternoon, he patiently answered questions from the media and wished a great success for the partnership between EuroEyes and Ironman. Actually, EuroEyes is no stranger to Mayor Scholz, he has known the company since 2011. He cut the ribbons at the grand opening of the first EuroEyes clinic in Shanghai, China. Five years later, at the 30th anniversary of Hamburg Shanghai twin city, EuroEyes showed again its great contribution to the Europe - China collaboration.
For cyclists and supporters, the rescue of Cyclassics by EuroEyes was such a great news that they express their gratitude and excitement across social media channels. Within minutes of the announcement, thousand comments were posted on the Cyclassics’ Facebook. “What a wonderful news, thank you EuroEyes!!!” “Can not express how relieved I am hearing the news! I thought Hamburg’s sports life was dying!” “Grandios, I’m so happy!!” “Cyclassics is a landmark of Hamburg, can’t imagine how it would be to lose it, great that the problem’s solved!”
EuroEyes + Cyclassics An International Partnership and a Joint Success
Since EuroEyes first entered the Chinese market and opened the first clinic in Shanghai, it has expanded to Beijing, and another two clinics will be open later this year in Guangzhou and Shenzhen. At the same time, Wanda Group is also accelerating its pace to the international stage, especially through its sports arm. The partnership between EuroEyes and Wanda’s daughter company Ironman is a true international collaboration and will definitely set a great model for all. In the near future, Ironman plans to introduce Cyclassics to China, which will give Chinese cyclists more opportunities to shine on the international cycling arena.