The last Haute Route event of the 2019 season kicked off today with 170 riders from 23 different nationalities arriving in Dujiangyan in the heart of the Sichuan Province to collect their bib and rider pack for the inaugural Haute Route Qingcheng. Excitement was high at the Event Hotel as riders checked in for the first-ever three-day event in China.
Coming back for the sixth time, Haute Route veteran Adrian Rollins from Australia – the second nationality in the peloton this weekend – was looking forward to discovering new roads on his bike: “It’s the first Haute Route in Asia so it’s really nice to have a chance to do an Haute Route here. I’ve been to China a few times and I think it’s a great initiative to have a race here. I haven’t been to this part of China before so it ticks all the boxes – ride my bike and travel.”
He added: “I did the Triple Crown in 2015, the Rockies and Dolomites in 2017 and last year I did Norway. Wherever I go I know what I will get with the Haute Route, very well organised events and lots of people coming from all over the world to enjoy cycling so I always have a great time at the Haute Route.”
Based out of the town of Dujiangyan at the base of the Qingcheng Mountain and in the stunning foothills of the Tibetean pleateau, the participants will benefit from fully closed roads for three days – a first in the Haute Route history - and take on three timed and ranked stages, involving two classic stages and one time trial.
Seduced by the 3-day format, 仲麟 张 from China is excited to live his first Haute Route experience: “I love cycling. I learnt about the Haute Route on the Internet and I talked about this event with friends on WeChat then I decided to take part in. I’m looking forward to the race tomorrow, enjoy the course and finish the race safely.”
Juan Van Vyve from Belgium and his girlfriend Yinxiao Wu will also experience the Haute Route for the first time. Juan said: “We were riding in China last year and we saw this one was something different and we say why not try and join it and see how it goes. My girlfriend’s hometown is Chengdu so it makes sense to come by and visit her hometown and cycle around here especially as I’ve never cycled here.”
After tonight’s Riders briefing and traditional Pasta Party that will unite the entire Haute Route Qingcheng peloton, riders will get ready for the first stage tomorrow. They will set off at 8am from Southbridge in Dujiangyan to take on a 82-km course with 1596 metres of climbing before crossing the finish line in the Yingxiu Village of Wenchuan.