Chinese riders are favored hopefuls in int'l events
Updated: 2013-07-12 15:25
By Sun Xiaochen, (chinadaily.com.cn)
International riders are confident that China is geared up to take on the cycling world. Impressed by public enthusiasm and the growing number of local tours, foreign cyclists participating in the 2013 Tour of Qinghai Lake are predicting a bright future.
"It seems like a big crowd at every stage. The support is inspiring," New Zealand rider Rico Rogers said of the crowds that lined the streets during the tour's opening stage in Xining, capital of Qinghai province.
Chinese riders' lackluster performance at international events suggests that the country has tough road to cycling glory. "A lot of Chinese ride bikes on a daily basis, they just don't necessarily race bikes," Roger, a Tour de France competitor, said.
"We see so many tours held in China. It's a proof of the sport's popularity. I think it's not long before you see a Chinese rider doing really well in the Tour. It's just a matter of time." Italian rider Mauro Finetto with the Vini Fantini Team echoed Rogers' views.
"I've seen the progress of the last three years. The Chinese riders are stronger and more ambitious. It seems to be going better and better." With seniors like Wong Kam-po (Hong Kong) and Li Fuyu reaching their career finishing line, young Chinese riders have emerged.
Xue Cheng, the blue jersey winner (best Asian rider) of the first stage, said more local races will help him to catch up with foreign riders in experience and strategy. "We have more chances to race against high-level riders from world-power countries like Italy, Australia and America, it definitely helps a lot."
After five stages, the yellow jersey is still on the shoulders of Iranian rider Mirasamad Pourseyedigolakhour from Tabriz Petrochemical Team, who clocked 21:32:12 and leads the Best Asian and King of the Mountain classifications.