Mitchelton-BikeExchange return to Tour of Fuzhou as defending championsTue 13 Nov 2018
This week takes Mitchelton-BikeExchange back to the scene of one of last season’s successes at the Tour of Fuzhou with the Chinese team boasting options for both the general classification and the sprints in recent Quanzhou Bay stage winner Kaden Groves.
After a strong all-round performance in last week’s race around the Chinese coast, MBE are looking to maintain their momentum with Australian Sam Jenner returning alongside Nazaerbieke Bieken and Liu Jiankun to form a trio of GC hopefuls.
Chinese road champion Niu Yiku iand compatriot Zhi Hui Jiang complete the line-up with Niu coming directly from the Tour of Quanzhou Bay and on the look-out for breakaway opportunities, whilst providing key support for Groves in the sprints.
Nazaerbieke Bieken (CN, 24)
Kaden Groves (AUS, 19)
Sam Jenner (AUS, 21)
Zhi Hui Jiang (CN, 24)
Liu Jiankun (CN, 23)
Niu Yikui (CN, 24)
2018 marks the seventh edition of the UCI Asia Tour 2.1 event and will cover over 500kilometres over five days of racing with tough, uphill finishes on two stages for the overall contenders and three sprint days for the fast men on the hunt for the last stage successes of the season.
Fuzhou is the capital of the southeastern Fujian province of China and for Mitchelton-BikeExchange in their second appearance here, last year’s impressive overall win by Jai Hindley has set the bar high. But, after a stage win and overall positive performance last week in Quanzhou the team is buoyed by confidence and can carry that into the race.
Sport director James Victor:
“With no Pro-Continental Teams taking part this year, it leaves the field of competition a little more open and we have the capabilities within the team to be very competitive at this level as we showed last year.”
“There are some other teams with strong climbers, but this race presents a good chance for us to ‘make the race’ and then try to control once we’ve made the opportunity. We’ve rested Naz since the Tour of Hainan with the objective being the GC here and with Sam coming in we have another good option there.
“We will know more after the after the climb on stage one, Liu is coming directly off the back of a top ten finish overall at Quanzhou Bay and it’s good for us to us to have strong options with our climbers.
“Stage four will be another GC day, but otherwise there’s three potential sprint opportunities for Kaden and as he showed last week on the opening stage of Quanzhou Bay he has the speed to get a result. If those stages do come down to the sprint, it will be all working towards positioning and supporting him as best we can.”
Tour of Fuzhou 14thto 18thNovember:
Wednesday 14thNovember, stage 1: Ma Wei - Ku Liang, 107.4km
Thursday 15thNovember, stage 2: Binjiang Binhai Rd - Qinjiang Manchu Villlage, 115.7km
Friday 16thNovember, stage 3: Liang Jiang County sports park, 97.1km
Saturday 17thNovember, stage 4: Yong Tai - Da Yang Town, 126.8km
Sunday 18thNovember, stage 5: Yong Tai Circuit Race, 129.6km