Mitchelton-BikeExchange return to action as they take on the two-part Tour of China looking to get in the mix over the challenging 11 days of racing.
Mitchelton-BikeExchange Tour of China line-up:
Nazaerbieke Bieken (CHN, 25)
Wenhui Bi (CHN, 26)
Ran Hao (CHN, 21)
Jiankun Liu (CHN, 24)
Yikui Niu (CHN, 24)
James Oram (NZL, 26)
Since 2012, the Chinese stage race has been split into two halves and for the 2019 edition, the first half will consist of six stages, while the second half has five, including a prologue on the first day.
The peloton will face a number of different terrains, with several circuit races making up the majority of the stages. An individual time trial on stage two could be key for the general classification, with little in the way of hills present in the opening six days of action. The second half of the tour presents a more challenging parcour for the peloton, with several categorised climbs spread throughout the last four days.
Kiwi James Oram will be hoping for another strong showing as he looks to build on his performance in the gruelling Tour of Qinghai Lake back in July. While Yikui Niu comes into the race after an impressive attempt at defending his title defence at the Chinese national road championships where he eventually took second place.
“I was fortunate enough to take my mid-season break in Bali after Qinghai, making the most of already being in Asia and meeting my partner there for some much needed rest. Racing from January through to July was starting to take its toll.
“Since then it’s been a slow grind in the New Zealand winter dodging rain clouds to get back to race fitness, but the last week of intensity has gone well and I’m sure the legs will ride into the Tour well.”
“After this small break, I’m looking to be as active as possible, so it’ll bring my form up for Hainan. With it likely being a sprinters style of race, bonus seconds from breakaways should give me a good chance for a nice overall as the TTs, although short, will suit my style. I hope as a team we can continue the strong progression from Qinghai. Niu is riding well in the sprints, and the rest are looking strong for breakaways.”
Tour of China I Race Details:
Saturday 7th September: Stage1, Chengde Yudaokou-Yudaokou, 96km
Sunday 8th September: Stage2, Chengde Weichang ITT, 8km
Monday 9th September: Stage3, Huangshi Circuit Race, 127.6km
Tuesday 10th September: Stage4, Zhijiang Circuit Race, 156.5km
Wednesday 11th September: Stage5, Yiyang Circuit Race, 79.7km
Thursday 14th September: Stage6, Ningyuan-Shundiling, 132km
Tour of China II Race Details:
Monday 16th September: Prologue, Jianghua ITT, 5.2km
Tuesday 17th September: Stage1, Jianghua-Yaodu, 131.1km
Thursday 19th September: Stage2, Anshun-Anshun, 127.8km
Saturday 21st September: Stage3, Mingshan-Mingshan, 118km
Sunday 22nd September: Stage4, Mingshan Circuit Race, 91.2km