Time has flown really quickly in Chengdu, I know I was there for only 31 hours. But hey , it was full on!
Yesterday we were picked up from the airport and driven to the hotel by the excellent logistics team of the Tour of Chengdu.
I was sharing the car and the room with Rob Gitelis, a current Pro rider for UCI Conti Team CCN. He has a lot of cycling races under his saddle, as he has only being racing for the last 37 years.
We then went for lunch until the arrival of others riders of the Team. We all set-up our bikes and decided to discover the city and the country side.
I was in Chengdu 4 years ago and I recall the beauty, now I should just say that it is just stunning,
I could say that is my favourite city in China.
We spent a few hours out training and got some fresh oxygen through our bodies. We then decided to get back and get ready for dinner, for the invited riders, before heading back to our rooms and to get some rest for the race.
Rob woke up early at 6am to have his breakfast. A little tip, ideally you should have your breakfast 3 hours before a race, so the blood goes to your muscle and not to your belly to digest the food. I woke up a little bit later, just trying to recover from the jet lag.
We all had breakfast and by 8am we were at the front of the hotel to ride to the start line inside the Chengdu International Circuit. The race was 70km inside the track, which it meant we had to go around at full speed for 22 laps!
There was loads of media coverage and I was interviewed a couple of time by the Chinese TV media. I also had the pleasure to meet the local government officials at the start line.
In China amateur races are like pro races in Europe because there are huge prize money at stake. The winner today netted a £800 cheque in their pocket and the 20th place got £60.
Amateur ELITE riders train like a pro riders, probably stronger, but the prize money push them to stay amateur.
The race started really well, touching an average of 48km/h, with few attacks from different riders. I was in a good position within the peloton, my positioning was getting higher and higher until that point that my travel damaged rear mech gave up on me, slipping within gears.
The alignment was gone and the spring lost tension so from top 10 I had to slowly pull out trying to do some adjustment while still on the race but I was dropping positions. Therefore, I had to say good bye to the race and welcome home under my saddle, a Chinese DNF.
A quick resume’ about the race, it was fast, tactical with 14 turns, false flats, particularly an amazing welcoming atmosphere, friendly great people and tasty food.
I am looking forward to be back in the future to Chengdu, for more racing and to admire all the different touristic attractions like Pandas and much more.
To all, I strongly advise you to visit Chengdu and intoxicate yourself with the freedom of cycling.
Good night from the bus, driving towards Pingtan Island to race tomorrow morning at the 2014 Ocean Cup Race.