All participating teams have arrived in China for the upcoming Tour of Beijing. Garmin-Cervélo has travelled to Asia with David Millar as their road captain, and Italian outfit Liquigas-Cannondale is counting on Peter Sagan for stage victories.
Despite having to leave his wife Nicole and three week-old baby Archibald, Millar was content to have arrived in Beijing for the event beginning Wednesday, October 5. The Scotsman, who spent his teenage years living in Hong Kong, is conscious of the potential of the sport's foray into new markets.
"Now that I am here, I am happy to be here. It's tough to leave my son so soon after his birth but this new race is important for pro cycling," Millar said. "I am curious to see how it's all received. This is a new venture for our sport and we want it to succeed."
Millar will lead the Garmin-Cervelo line-up that also includes Paris-Roubaix winner Johan Van Summeren, Heinrich Haussler and world track champion Jack Bobridge, who just finished an impressive fifth in the world time trial championships.
"My goal was to make the top ten in Copenhagen, so to finish fifth was something I was very happy with," Bobridge said. "I had a few easy days back in Girona after the worlds and then some good training. I have trained straight for the time trial but I want to see how I go over the longer stages here. It could be okay."
Liquigas also enters the five-day race with expectations, especially in the sprint stages, according to the team's Australian rider Cameron Wurf.
"We come with three really top sprinters and all in good condition. Elia Viviani, Daniel Oss and Peter Sagan are all chances for a stage, especially when you consider that we have (Mauro) Da Dalto working with Sagan and (Davide) Cimolai with Viviani," Wurf said as he awaited the arrival of his European teammates in the Chinese capital.
"Peter Sagan is in incredible form and if there is a day, in particular, with a small group, he will be a big chance," Wurf continued.
"If you look back on what he's done, world junior mountain bike champion, etc, it's not surprising he is making an impression. He can sprint, climb and time trial. Watching him handling a bike is phenomenal and then there is the thing that he believes that every time he races he can win. He is very strong mentally - you rarely see him crack, if ever, and he is never far from a victory.
"But then we shouldn't overlook the fact that Viviani has won something like four races in the last six weeks so we have options."
Team Garmin-Cervelo for the 2011 Tour of Beijing: Jack Bobridge, Heinrich Haussler, Michel Kreder, Cameron Meyer, David Millar, Andrew Talansky, Johan Vansummeren, Matthew Wilson.
Liquigas-Cannondale for the 2011 Tour of Beijing: Davide Cimolai, Tiziano Dall'antonia, Maruro Da Dalto, Daniel Oss, Peter Sagan, Juraj Sagan, Elia Viviani, Cameron Wurf.