Argos-Shimano has received a wild card invitation to the Tour of Beijing. The team's competitive performances at the Tour de France and Vuelta a Espana were reasons for the invitation, but another was the presence on the team of Ji Cheng, one of the few Chinese riders competing at the Professional Continental level.
“Argos-Shimano have a very competitive roster as shown in performances in two Grand Tours so far this year and the presence of one of China’s strongest exports in Cheng will give the locals a home crowd hero to support”, said Alain Rumpf, director of the UCI's Global Cycling Promotion, which is helping to organise the race.
The Dutch-based team features two top young German sprinters. John Degenkolb has won three of three mass sprints at the Vuelta, and leads the points ranking. He has nine wins this season, as does Marcel Kittel.
Cheng, 25, has been with the team since 2007. He was the first Chinese rider to ride Milan-San Remo, which he did this year, and is currently riding the Vuelta. The race website called him “a great example of the globalisation of cycling in recent years as non European rider numbers grow on WorldTour and Continental rosters.”