Tour of Guangxi preview

17 Oct 2017

Tour of Guangxi preview

Team Sky are all set to tackle the inaugural Tour of Guangxi in China this week.

The new six-day WorldTour stage race (October 19-24) is an exciting addition to the late-season calendar and we are sending a strong lineup to Guangxi.

The seven-man team will be led by Wout Poels, with GC support from Mikel Landa, while Danny van Poppel will have his eye on the sprint days, backed up by Owain Doull, Jon Dibben and Lukasz Wisniowski. Benat Intxausti returns to action for the first time since San Sebastian as the Spaniard hopes to put his long-term illness behind him.
Wout Poels

Wout Poels

I hope I can do a good ride on the GC there. It depends on how tough the climbs are but we will try.
Last week Wout Poels told TeamSky.com how much he was looking forward to the final race of the campaign: “Tim [Kerrison] asked me a few weeks ago and because I haven’t raced so much this season it’s good to get a few more race days in my legs and stop a little later.
 
“And once we knew about the tough parcours, I thought ‘why not’? I hope I can do a good ride on the GC there. It depends on how tough the climbs are but we will try.”
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Sport Director Brett Lancaster explained that the team have been doing all they can to learn as much as possible about the race route.

He said: “We’ve been taking a look at the stages and trying to get as much information as we can on the route. It’s very sprint-based, and from our point of view I think Danny [van Poppel] is pretty keen and raring to go – so to potentially pick up a stage win or two would be nice.
 
“Stage four is the mountain day. I say mountain, it’s more of a two or three kilometre climb which is pretty steep. That is where the GC will be decided and that should sort things out. If [Mikel] Landa is going OK he could certainly get up that and Wout will be our man for GC.”
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The aim, says Lancaster, is to try and ‘win some bike races’, but the Australian admits the action will be hard to predict.
 
“It will be interesting to see how it plays out, especially as it’s so late in the season,” he continued. “Quite a few of the guys were racing with the team back in January like Danny and Owain [Doull]. Now it’s late October.
 
“There are a lot of unknowns as obviously it’s a new race, in a different part of the world and a proper challenge. We’re just going to get out there take it as it comes. The aim is to have a good time and to try to win some bike races.”

Route

The opening stage is a short blast around one of the fastest-growing cities in the world: Beihai. Two 53.7km laps combine to create a punchy 107.4km opening stage, almost certain to be decided by the sprinters.

It could be more of the same on day two, although a slight uphill finish to the 156.7km stage might entice some late attacks. Day three is another short one, at 125.4km, with four category-three climbs to contend with. The sprinters will fancy their chances though, before the GC action kicks off on stage four.
Stage four should see fireworks

Stage four should see fireworks

The one and only first-category climb of the race lies in wait at the end of the fourth stage, where the race lead is likely to change hands.

Stage five is the longest of the race and, with four categorised climbs to contend with, it won’t be easy. The sprinters could survive to contest the win, but it may prove too tough for them.

They will certainly battle for the win on the final day though - a final blast around Guilin.

Timings

Guangxi is seven hours ahead of the UK, meaning stages are due to finish around 8am UK time. Onboard GoPro highlights will be available through Velon.
Danny van Poppel will hope to have his hands in the air in Guangxi

Danny van Poppel will hope to have his hands in the air in Guangxi

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