A rider to watch during the second edition of the Tour of Taihu (November 1 to 5) will be Wang Meiyin riding for continental team Hengxiang. Meiyin, one of China's best young cyclists, is coming off a strong showing at the recent Tour of Hainan where he finished in fourth place overall, one position in front of 2008 Tour de France stage winner Vladimir Efimkin.
"It came as a surprise to me to do so well on GC at the Tour of Hainan," Wang said upon arrival in Wuxi for the Tour of Taihu. "This is the best result of my career so far. Every day, I remained in the main bunch and I did well at some intermediate sprints."
The 22 year old from Qufu in the Shandong province is said to have been boosted by his ride at the inaugural Tour of Beijing, where he was awarded as the most aggressive rider of stage 4 after bridging the gap to a breakaway with Lampre-ISD’s Damiano Cunego.
"Competing alongside World Tour riders has been an inspiration," he said. "I was really impressed by [overall winner] Tony Martin, to see just how good these guys are gives a rider like myself something to aim for."
"Now that I have good form, I want to do better here than at the Tour of Hainan," he said. "The field of the Tour of Taihu is maybe a bit less competitive but the course is pretty flat and it might be a race for sprinters. There are some very good riders from the Ukraine and American team Jelly Belly."
Wang finished ninth in the inaugural Tour of Taihu last year. Then, It was a one-day race won by Australia’s David Kemp. The race is Wang’s last event on his agenda for 2011 but he already has next season in mind.
"I want to learn English and improve my cycling by communicating with riders from other countries," said Wang.
Li Fuyu, Wang's coach and mentor, who has in the past ridden for both Discovery Channel and RadioShack has big ambitions for him.
"I have not made it as a Tour de France rider but I believe Wang can become the first Chinese rider to do it," Li said. "We want to increase the level in China, and so of course I hope he'll stay to help out the younger riders - but I’ll also be trying to get him into a big team in Europe either next year or the year after. He has a big future."