CYCLING fans have a chance to catch some of the world’s best female athletes pedal at a furious pace next week as the Tour of Chongming Island and UCI Women’s Road World Cup races return to an area of Shanghai known for its seaside and countryside scenery.
The three-day Tour of Chongming, a top-rated 2.1 race, begins on May 13 while the World Cup race takes place on May 17. Both events are supported by the International Cycling Union, the General Administration of Sport of China and the Shanghai government.
“With a natural environment and good air quality, Chongming Island aims to become an outdoor sports paradise that people love visiting,” said Tang Hailong, the director of Chongming County. “We plan to open 413 kilometers of scenic cycling paths over the next three years. The first 350 kilometers of paths will open before the end of this year.”
One route will be a ring around the island’s coast while there will also be shorter circular routes in Chongming New City area, Xisha Wetland, Dongping National Forest Park, Chenjia Town and Hengsha Island.
The cycling paths will be 2 meters wide and painted red. Rest stations will be set up every 4 to 8 kilometers. Separate jogging lanes are near the river banks. They provide an alternative to cycling and provide nice views of the Yangtze River.
UCI Women’s Road World Cup
As one of the 10 stops on The UCI Women’s Road World Cup 2015, the Chongming Island race is the only one in Asia. It attracts top riders from 18 teams from countries and regions including England, Switzerland, Norway, Italy, Mexico, France, Germany and China.
Among these teams, there are many elite athletes including the Dutch “Queen of Sprint” Kirsten Wild from Hitec Products and Italian rider Giorgia Bronzini from team Wiggle Honda.
Four teams from China are Cycling Team of Hong Kong China, Chinese Taipei Cycling Team, China National Team and China Chongming-Liv-Champion System Pro Cycling. Four women from the China National team will compete in this race.
The 125km race starts at Oriental Sports Center and runs through Shanghai Yangtze River Tunnel-Bridge, Dongtan Wetland and along the coast. The two sprint points are at 29.2km and 98.4km.
Chongming first held national cycling races from 2003-2005. In 2006, the island hosted the international men’s tour of Chongming Island. The county became the host of the women’s Tour of Chongming Island in 2007. In 2009, it was granted the right to host the women’s World Cup race.
Time: May 17, 10am-1:58pm
Tour of Chongming Island
The 13th annual three-day Tour of Chongming Island is the highest-level professional cycling event in Asia. The 304km tour has three stages. The start and finish point are at Xincheng Park on Chongming Avenue.
The first stage covers 107km and passes through Dongping National Forest Park and Chenjia Town. The two sprint points are at 48km and 90.7km.
The second stage, or the Chongxi stage, covers 113.7km and is the tour’s classic stage as the athletes take a route along the coastline.
The route also passes Mingzhu Lake, Xisha Wetland, Luhua Fruit Garden, World Sandbank Culture Museum and Xilai Farm. As an alluvial island formed by silt carried along the Yangtze River, Chongming Island has beautiful river banks.
The final stage is referred to as the Island Circuit and stretches 83.2km. There are two sprint points at 20.8km and 52km for riders to earn extra points.
Last year, Kirsten Wild of the Netherlands won the tour’s yellow jersey as the overall winner. Racing for Giant-Shimano, Wild, also known as the “sprint queen,” also picked up the tour’s blue jersey for most points.
The China Chongming-Giant-Champion System Pro Cycling Team won the Best Asian Team Award.
Four teams will represent China this year on Chongming Island.