The removal of an opening time trial and a more mountainous course awaits the riders of the WorldTour for the second edition of the Tour of Beijing. The host city of Beijing will kick-off the five-day race which promises to challenge the peloton far more than last year’s parcours. In 2011 it was Tony Martin, riding for the now defunct HTC-Highroad team who used his time trialling ability on the opening day to capture the race lead, something he wouldn’t relinquish for the remainder of the race. Martin took the win in a tour which did seemed to do little to excite the following fans - or riders, for that matter.
Race organisers used the feedback gained from their inaugural edition and have produced a 761.5km route that see’s the opening time trial removed and a replica of last year’s final circuit race put in place instead. This will no doubt offer the sprinters the chance to gain the lead prior to stage two, also designed for the sprinters before tackling three tough stages with plenty of climbing.
"The response from the teams and riders was very positive and whilst we had a well balanced course last year and the opening stage time trial around Olympic Park provided memorable images of the first WorldTour event in China, we did feel we required a different test for 2012," said Global Cycling Promotion director Alain Rumpf.
In-form sprinters may be able to overcome the numerous climbs including a category one, two and numerous category three mountains but the teams will have to work much harder to control this year's race.
"It should make for an exciting race. The climbs are hard, but the sprinters may still be in the mix, and we feel it will also provide a better possibility for a successful breakaway" Mr Rumpf said.
The Tour of Beijing will run from 9-13 October and is slated to be included in the WorldTour calendar through till 2014. Just days after Beijing, the Tour of Hangzhou (17-21 October) will be run for the first time. These two races, while pushing the season out even longer, are vital for securing WorldTour points for the coming season. Expect a top field to contest both races.
Tuesday 9 October - Stage 1 - Tian An Men Square - Bird’s Nest Olympic Piazza (117km)
Wednesday 10 October - Stage 2 - Bird’s Nest Piazza - Men Tou Gou Yong Ding River Cultural Square (134km)
Thursday 11 October - Stage 3 - Green Sea Forest Park - Yan Qing Ba Da Ling Great Wall (162.5km)
Friday 12 October - Stage 4 - Yan Qing Gui Chuan Square - Chang Ping Stadium (165.5km)
Saturday 13 October - Stage 5 - Chang Ping Stadium - Ping Gu Centenary Square (182.5km)