After three days of incredible riding through typical landscapes of the Sichuan Province, the inaugural Haute Route Qingcheng came to a close this morning on the Puhong Road ascent.
On a fresh morning, the 170 participants set off one by one from the start ramp to take on the 14-km ascent with 944 metres of climbing up to the Puhong Road and pushed hard to catch the rider who set off ahead of them.
Living in Beijing, Norwegian rider Linn Roodla had little time to train for her first multi-day event but enjoyed her experience. Before setting off, she said: “It’s been absolutely great. I’m gonna push today because now I’m ranked 4th overall and my goal is to get within the top 3. I start to be a bit tired so let’s see how it goes. I’m not used to multi-day events so that’s why my legs are hurting.”
She added: “I’ve been to Sichuan before but I’ve never ridden my bike there. We’ve been a bit unlucky with the weather but it’s still dramatic in its own way when it’s rainy. It makes it tougher and it’s a good way to challenge yourself. Landscapes were really great.”
The first-ever Haute Route Qingcheng featured 236km of riding and over 4,970 metres of climbing, with countless memorable moments. The first stage kicked off from Southbridge Dujiangyan before riders took on the double ascent of the Longchi Tunnel, crossed the ancient village of Shuimo and finished in the heart of Yingxiu Wenchuan. The next day, the peloton rolled out Dujiangyan in a secure convoy before riding through kiwi and bamboo plantations and climbing the unspoilt Xiange-Honkou Pass and the Qingcheng Mountain Road, with a finish in style under the Gate of Qingcheng Mountain.
Riders had a blast over the three days of the event as expressed by Tong Li from China: “The race is great. This is my first time. I live in Beijing and I came just for this event. I love the Haute Route and I think it’s very well organised. The course is very well picked up and the best is that we have the roads for ourselves. Everything is closed so it’s an amazing experience. The people are cheering from the side and the kids as well. That’s great!”
Echoing Tong’s feelings, Joern Rischmueller from Germany added: “It’s brilliant. It was very nice. This is my first time riding in China. I am on Infinity Pass so I did multiple events this year. When I saw this event on the list I choose to do it because I have some colleagues in Chengdu so I combined that with a visit to my colleagues and I came here for the race. It’s less altitude here than in other events, it’s not that demanding from a cycling perspective. There are great sceneries and how people behave is very nice.”
At the front of the peloton, 吴云飞 took the overall win with 1:59 over fellow rider 邵俊旗 and 3:51 over Australian rider Tim Proctor. Chinese rider 刘芊箬 won the female category, ahead of Yinxiao Wu and 叶婧涵.
With the 2019 Haute Route season now over, it’s time to think about 2020! You can now register online for one of the 11 Haute Route events in Europe, America and Asia net year. Explore our new destinations or test yourself at one of the popular events returning to the programme. Whether longer or shorter, easier or more difficult, closer or further from home, there are plenty of options to choose from.