The 2018 cycling season has delivered many memorable moments. We just finished covering the thrilling Vuelta a España, and the other three races and Classics were a success this year. It’s sad to say goodbye to those races. Fortunately for cycling enthusiasts, however, there are still a few races taking place in other parts of the world. The last of the 2018 UCI World Tour races is being held in the Chinese region of Guangxi and the peloton will compete in six stages for overall victory in the Tour of Guangxi.
New Tour on the block
The Tour of Guangxi was held for the first time last year. The race was intense and challenging, ending with a great finish, and it was exciting to see Tim Wellens become champion. Bauke Mollema arrived only six seconds behind, followed by Nicholas Roche taking third-place on the podium. We’re not sure who will ride in this year’s race, but it will probably become clear after the UCI World Championships. So what do we know about the Tour of Guangxi? Here are some details about the routes in the six stages of the race.
Stage 1: a circuit around Beihai
The first stage is about 100km long and skirts around the city of Beihai. It’s located on the South China Sea and it’s expected to be a windy route. The riders will have to climb two small hills that might separate the leaders from the pack, but we expect the end of the stage to be a tight sprint.
Stage 2: Another sprint stage
The second stage is some 145km long and takes us from Beihai to Qinzao. This city has a population of about four million, so we expect to see massive crowd support for the race. The stage is a flat course with three intermediate sprints, so we think the energy and effort will keep it quite interesting.
Stage 3: laps around Nanning
The third stage is similar to stage 1 in Beihai, except now the race goes in laps around Nanning. It offers two climbs that count towards the mountain classification, but we suspect it will also end in a sprint.
Stage 4: fireworks on the Nongla
The fourth stage is the one to watch, as we expect the top riders in this stage will break from the rest of the pack. The peloton starts in Nanning and takes us 152km to finish in Mashannongla. The race ends on the Nongla, a mountain, and the final 3km climb has an average gradient of 6%—no monster, but we do expect the overall rankings to change after this stage.
Stage 5: three climbs
Stage 5 is quite exciting and tricky-looking. The race starts in Liuzhou and ends after 212km in Guilin, making it a lengthy route that will test the rider’s stamina. In the last 60km of the race, there are three climbs, and the last mountain of the first category is about 30km from the finish. We bet that a small group of class riders will compete for this day’s win.
Stage 6: a twist in the tail
Most multi-day tours end with a stage for the sprinters. Fortunately, the sixth and final stage of the Tour of Guangxi offers a twist. The riders have to cover 169km on a tour around Guilin, and there are two difficult climbs about 40km from the end, so we expect the leading cyclists after stage 5 will be our winners.
The participants in this race are a mix of strong sprinters and riders who can handle climbs. It promises to be an unusual and thrilling race! You can follow the tour from the 16th to the 21st of October.