2015 marks the first year that China will have multiple races in the country, with two C1 stations ready to kick off the UCI calendar for the season.
Cyclocrossers from around the world have gathered to contend for the full load of UCI points on the table. With the Yanqing station ready to go underway tomorrow, we offer a short race preview for the Men’s and Women’s races, as well as the introduction that promoter Yanxing Song offered the group the day before, which laid out his plans for the 2015 year, but also for the future possibilities for the races of the future.
The Vision of the UCI Race Promoter in China
“We had a successful event in 2013, and now we have developed into two C1 events,” event director Yanxing Song said before the riders. “While we have the same Yanqing race as always, we just finished designing the course last month in Hainan.”
“We tried a wooden bridge and lane near the river. I’m really looking forward to hearing your thoughts on what we have done with the course.”
“Putting on a UCI race is not easy because it is so new in China. I promise you were are waiting to do more, and next year we can talk about going to three stations. This is very difficult for all of you, and I tell everyone to thank you for traveling here. I think back on 2013, and all of these riders flying 11 or 12 hours in flight, all for a one hour race.”
“I always try to improve the situation, and maybe next year we can look at staying in China for three C1 races, maybe seven or eight days. That might make things easier for everyone.”
2015 Qiansen Trophy Day 1 – Men’s Preview
Thijs Al of the Netherlands comes back once again from retirement for another chance to defend his title. Currently, he is the only male rider to win a UCI cyclocross race in China, but there will be plenty of challengers looking to usurp his throne at the top step of the podium. Wietse Bosmans might be the frontrunner in this respect. This BKCP-Powerplus rider has won both the U23 and Junior Belgian National Championships in his career, and looks to make a big statement at the start of the UCI season.
Lukas Winterberg will also present a big challenge to other riders wanting to take the win. Although from Switzerland, Winterberg has spent most of his cyclocross season in the United States, taking plenty of podiums in races such as Ellison and the KMC Cyclo-cross festival. Steve Chainel of France is also here to build on the podium finish he took last year at the same race.
A field of 52 riders rounds out the competition. The international field contains five Australians, four Latvians, five Swedes, four Japanese, three Kiwis and seven Americans among other countries.
Women’s Preview to the first station of the 2015 Qiansen Trophy
With Ellen Van Loy not returning to defend her win from last year, plenty of women seek to earn the gold in 2015. Belgian racer, Katrien Thijs has plenty of World Cup experience to make her feel right at home in the international field. Current Junior French National Champion Laura Perry is ready to start her season in China on the right foot as well, telling Cyclocross Magazine that she enjoys the fitness courses over those that demands lots of technique. Margriet Kloppenburg, the Danish Cyclocross National Champion, also returns the China in hopes of building on her race from last year.
Don’t count out the Americans in the Women’s Elite Race, with seven of the 18 riders hailing from the country. Emily Kachorek of California, Kathryn Cumming of New Jersey (flying the CXM colors) and CXM Contributor Christine Vardaros based in Europe will lead a deep American cyclocross field in what looks to be a potential nail-biting race.
Stay tuned for the race, which kicks off Saturday night (US time).