Sports\Team China

Ancient city welcomes world-class cyclists with green scenery

By Zhao Manfeng | | Updated: 2017-08-25 20:46

Ancient city welcomes world-class cyclists with green scenery

The lead group crosses the finish line on Aug 25, 2017. [Photo provided to]

US cyclist Jacob Rathe has won the first stage of the Second Tour of Xingtai to Green Taihang International Road Cycling Race.

Rathe, from Jelly Belly Maxxis team, won both the yellow jersey and green jersey, followed by Serbian 21-old cyclist Kalaba Dusan as first runner up, and Kuait cyclist Salah Eddine Mraouni as second runner up.

The race is contested across Xingtai City, an ancient city in northern China's Hebei province, this weekend covering a total of 423 kilometers, including 285 km of hills.

"The organization was very professional, even more professional than many races in the US," Rathe said after the race.

"I was also amazed by how beautiful the route is."

Event organizer Qiu Jijin said the tour has grown into one of the highest level races in Asia and is an important race for the International Cycling Union.

"It has winners from 13 different nations so it's a real global race," Li Zhaohui, a sports commentator, said.

The race was first held last year. This year's race has attracted 94 professional cyclists from home and abroad, including the United States, Iran, Kuwait, the Philippines, Mongolia, Serbia, Uzbekistan and Belarus.

With 3,500 years' of history, Xingtai is one of the birthplaces of Yangshao culture and one of the oldest cities in northern China. Know as a hub for ferrous and metallurgy, the city is now striving to develop its green economy lead by tourism.

According to the 13th five year plan for Xingtai, the city has reduced 2.32 million tons of iron, 1.52 million tons of steel and 703.3 tons of cement in the past five years. Meanwhile, the forested area has increased 46.7 million hectares, taking the forest cover rate to 26.7 percent.

"I will try to keep my jersey while enjoying the beautiful scenery of Xingtai tomorrow," said the first-stage winner Rathe.

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