There are similarities between Hayden Strong and the Chinese cyclists in China Glory Cycling. One of them is the fact that all of them are racing in Europe for the first time in their careers. Another one is that it has not always been easy for all of them to adapt to the European racing scene.
Strong, originally from New Zealand, says everyone’s level is so high in Europe, that one really has to get all the details right to perform, both on and off the bike. “It is not only about the racing. It is also about recovery, nutrition, and the right preparation for a race. In Europe, all these topics matter, especially if we do multiple stages of over 180 kilometres with 47 kilometres per hour average.”
He says that the best way to learn is to do races in Europe. “The approach of China Glory Cycling, to race as many races as possible in Europe, is perfect. This is how we, the Chinese riders and me, recognize the little things that can be improved, and implement those lessons into the next race.”
Bike handling and race understanding are two of those lessons, Strong believes. “In Europe, one has to be confident about one’s abilities on the bike. It is about riding close to others, sticking together as a team in the bunch, cornering, positioning towards a climb, descending mountains in large groups, following the wheels, and more.”
The cyclist from New Zealand says he feels a special connection with the Chinese riders because they are going through the same process as he goes through. “It is so nice to be part of a team that is really growing and taking on these challenges together. Everyone has such a great attitude towards our mission and what we are trying to accomplish with this team.”
Strong believes that the attitude China Glory Cycling and the Chinese riders have, will make a difference in the future. “Having a strong drive towards yourself and those around you is the most important thing to have in order to accomplish goals. It is the willingness of getting out of your comfort zone, eagerness to learn, and the motivation to push your limits. The Chinese riders have all these characteristics.”