Interest rising ahead of Tour de France

Tour de France logo (File)
Tour de France logo (File)

Paris - Once viewed as a means of transport for the masses, cycling is attracting more sports fans in China, a new survey said on Friday on the eve of the Tour de France.

Fans of cycling are increasing in numbers around the world, but no more so than in Asia, where sharp growth has been seen in Hong Kong, China and Japan, according to figures released by Nielsen Sports.

"We're seeing a significant spike in interest in cycling across the region with numerous events being staged, especially in China," said Claude Ringuet, head of Nielsen Sports for Southeast Asia and Greater China.

Since 2013, interest has grown from 39% of respondents to 48% today in Hong Kong, 14% to 21% in Japan and 19% to 25% in China.

The survey of 1 000 people aged 16-69 is conducted twice yearly in each of the 37 markets, Nielsen said in a statement.

The Tour de France, the world's pre-eminent cycling stage race, starts Saturday from Dusseldorf, Germany and ends in Paris on July 23.

Ringuet, who has raced the tour and whose father was a professional cyclist, said increased exposure to the sport and investment by top cycling brands had played a part in the sport's rising popularity.

Interest in cycling is also growing in countries where the sport has a traditional following, with interest in France growing from 34% to 40% over the same period.

loading... Live
England 0
Pakistan 106/3 (41 ov)
Voting Booth
What is your favourite sport to watch on TV?
Please select an option Oops! Something went wrong, please try again later.
Results
Rugby
44% - 5913 votes
Cricket
11% - 1468 votes
Football
19% - 2520 votes
Athletics
2% - 309 votes
Boxing
1% - 123 votes
Cycling
2% - 304 votes
Golf
5% - 659 votes
Motorsport
8% - 1096 votes
Tennis
3% - 419 votes
Water sports
1% - 120 votes
American sports
1% - 129 votes
MMA / WWE / UFC
3% - 385 votes
Vote