Xianjing Lyu, Changquan Xu and Nazaerbieke Bieken are one night before another challenge in their careers. China Glory Cycling headed out to Spain for three races (four race days) in seven days, meaning the continuation of the European cycling season for the three Chinese riders.
Prueba Villafranca is the first of three, starting tomorrow. It is a one-day race on a hilly course, that's happening as we speak.
From earlier experiences, the Chinese team found out that Lyu, Bieken and Xu have issues with the length and intensity of races on European soil. It is the main motive why the three did a lot of endurance training over the last few weeks.
“Usually we would focus more on power and strength”, Lyu says, “but lately we focused more on endurance. I can feel the difference.”
Bieken can tell he rides more efficiently. “When I am on the bike doing efforts, I feel like I can push more power on the pedals in a higher cadence for a longer period of time. I can tell it is a result of the training we did, which was indeed focused on endurance.”
Xu adds: “We worked more specific to our goals this time. We knew for a long time what to expect from the races we will be doing in the second part of the season, also based on earlier racing experiences. We knew we had to work on our endurance. We did, and therefore I am excited about the races in Spain.”
“The level is pretty high”, Bieken knows. “In most of the races we do in the rest of the season, there will be WorldTour teams at the start.”
“It will be high-level racing”, Xu agrees. “There are numerous riders that have shown their skills in the past in bigger races, and will push the level of the three races we are doing significantly up.”
Lyu believes his companions and him are more prepared than ever before to be competitive. “It’s a process we are in, and we are taking steps in the right direction every week. We are going to enrich ourselves with the tournaments ahead.”