Chinese riders learn to race in the wind while looking forward to climbing in Turkey

The first two stages of the Tour of Turkey were dominated by the wind. Something that the Chinese riders barely experienced in their cycling careers, so for them it was a matter of adjusting and learning quickly.

Only in the Tour of Hainan, might the Chinese riders get similar circumstances to those they had in the opening two stages in Turkey. “But not for such long stretches of the road,” according to Han Feng, the Chinese manager of the team. “Here in Turkey, we had the nervousness in the peloton due to the wind for nearly the entire stage.”

No wonder the Chinese riders were having some difficulties during the flat stages along the coastline of Turkey. The international riders had to teach them about riding in the wind and getting into the first echelon. “But that is also the purpose of this whole project,” says Han Feng.

He enjoyed seeing the international riders helping Changquan Xu, Nazaerbieke Bieken and Xianjing Lyu with positioning and reading the race. “Super helpful,”,says Han Feng. “They can use this experience in all the races ahead, including – maybe – the stages that still follow here in Turkey.”

The third stage in the Tour of Turkey was significantly easier and not only because of the wind: there was barely any. Also, the distance made it feel like an easy day in the saddle: 118 kilometers. Sports director Lionel Marie said that the team saved some energy for the challenging stage of tomorrow, with a long mountain top finish. “It will be very interesting to see how the Chinese riders will be climbing.”

The weather forecast is in their favour. Most of the windy stages are behind them – normally.

Team manager Maarten Tjallingii is curious to see what his team can do on the uphill finish. It will be the first-ever mountaintop finish for the team. He is particularly interested in seeing Lyu climbing.

“He has been racing very well and I think he will be keen to show himself. Sean will help him. They have been working together in the last few days and they will do that tomorrow too,” Tjallingii says.

Sports director Lionel Marie agrees with Tjallingii. “If we can get in the breakaway, and see one of the Chinese riders battling on the final climb, I think we can talk about a successful day.”