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Mitchelton-BikeExchange looking for opportunities at the Tour of Qinghai Lake

Sat 21 Jul 2018

Mitchelton-BikeExchange line up at the 17thedition of the challenging Tour of Qinghai Lake in China tomorrow with a strong squad looking for solid stage results and a high overall placing.

British sprinter and future classics prospect Jacob Hennessy will be joined by Australian Harry Sweeny and new signings – climber Drew Morey and former Australian U19 national champion and sprinter, Kaden Groves.

The team’s Chinese element comes from the versatile Sun Xiaolong and 25-year-old Bi Wenhui with Sun having the potential to do well in the first Chinese rider class and provide good all-round support for Morey in the mountains.

With Morey’s climbing ability the top ten on general classification is a realistic target and with the Giro d’Italia U23 and a long stint at altitude under his belt the preparation has gone well.

There are also more options within the team now for the sprint stages with Groves and Hennessy both looking to be up there and both able to mix it on different types of final, be it flat or slightly uphill.

After an impressive tenth overall at the Tour de Langkawi back in March, Sweeny has endured a tough time with injury and recovery and Qinghai Lake provides his first opportunity to return to competition unhindered.

Team:

Drew Morey (AUS, 21)

Harry Sweeny (AUS, 20)

Jacob Hennessy (GBR, 21)

Kaden Groves (AUS, 19)

Bi Wenhui (CHI, 25)

Sun Xiaolong (CHI, 24)

Sport director Dave Sanders:

“We are in good shape for this race with all of the team having spent a quality period of time at altitude preparing and with seven out of the thirteen stages set to finish in bunch sprints there will be plenty of opportunities for Jacob and Kaden, whilst we will be looking to the mountain stages for Drew and possibly Sun to gain a good result on the GC.”

“As always there will be plenty of strong competition and along with this being China’s hardest and arguably most prestigious stage race it will provide an excellent test for our guys to try and make the most of the opportunities presented.

“Due to the length of the race and competing at altitude it is going to be very important that we race diligently and recover well on a daily basis. There is a good mix of terrain for a team with our versatility and it is also a goal for us to finish the Tour healthy and with good sensations going into the second half of the season.”

Tour of Qinghai Lake (22ndJuly – 4thAugust):

Sunday 22nd July, stage 1: Ledu to Xining, 162km

Monday 23rd July, stage 2: Xining Stage, 115km

Tuesday 24thJuly, stage 3: Duoba to Guide, 133km

Wednesday 25thJuly, stage 4: Guide to Longyangxia, 100km

Thursday 26thJuly, stage 5: Longyangxia to Bird Islet, 235km

Friday 27thJuly, stage 6: Qilian Mountain Climbing Race, 66km

Saturday 28thJuly, stage 7: Qilian to Menyaun, 169km

Sunday 29thJuly, stage 8: Qingshizui to Zhangye, 237km

Monday 30thJuly, stage 9: Jinchang to Wuwei, 175km

Tuesday 31stJuly, Rest Day.

Wednesday 1stAugust, stage 10: Wuwei Stage (Minqin-Tenggeli Desert), 124km

Thursday 2ndAugust, stage 11: Zhongwei Stage (Shapotou-Government-Square), 110km

Friday 3rdAugust, stage 12: Yinchuan Stage (People Square-Jincheng Park), 107km

Saturday 4thAugust, stage 13: Lanzhou New Area Stage, 108km

Photos courtesy of Twila Federica Muzzi.

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