The closing race of China Glory Cycling’s season uncovers the Asian continent. The Tour of Langkawi is the Chinese team’s last opportunity this year to go for glory.
The race on Malaysian soil takes eight days and will see Xianjing Lyu returning to racing after a short break after the World Championships. Lyu teammate and fellow countryman Bieken Nazaerbieke, unfortunately, didn’t join for the last one of the season - he has problems with his Visa.
Ultimately, China Glory Cycling is already ‘one down’ before the race has even started. However, that does not have any negative influence on the team’s morale or ambitions for the stage race.
Lyu mentions that he is well-rested and also mentally ready to take on the last challenge. “It was good to take a tiny breather after the Worlds, also because it took a long time getting there and adjusting to the time zone. Mentally I am still fresh: I am keen to take on those eight days of racing.”
The Tour of Langkawi attracted many WorldTour teams this year, particularly those who are battling it out for the last available points to maintain their WorldTour-status for the following three years of racing. The competition, therefore, is high, potentially even the highest it has ever been in the Tour of Langkawi.
“The competition is huge”, general manager Maarten Tjallingii says about the number of WorldTour teams taking the start. “We’ve barely done ‘easy’ races this season, and this one is surely not one either.”
The team’s principal hopes that the team leader in Malaysia, Sean Bennett, will go for stage results and a good classification in the general classification when the race ends in Langkawi. Bennett himself believes that he has trained well for the last race of the season and is keen to show himself one more time.”
“I have never raced in Malaysia”, the American cyclist says, “however, I had a look at the stages and there are two days of racing with a proper mountain top finish. I think we will see plenty of fireworks during these two stages, but also during the flatter stages things will light up.”
Given the fact that the stages are relatively short, particularly compared to European stage races, and the finishes are sometimes punchy, Bennett might have given a beautiful sight into the future. So: fireworks are expected, and let the Chinese actually be famous for their fireworks…!