Riders line up for final round of the UCI WorldTour at Tour of Guangxi
The second edition of the Tour of Guangxi – China's sole UCI WorldTour event – again attracts some of the world's best teams and riders to one of professional cycling's developing nations.
The six-day race begins on October 16 and combines flat stages suited to the sprinters with mountain stages on which the overall contenders can make a break for victory.
China did host the now defunct Tour of Beijing between 2011 and 2014, but 2017 saw the nation back hosting bike racing at the highest level, with the inaugural event won by Lotto Soudal's Tim Wellens.
There's no Wellens at the Tour of Guangxi this year, with the Belgian having instead chosen to bring a close to his season with a very credible fifth place at Il Lombardia at the weekend, and in fact you have to look all the way down last year's overall classification to 10th place, and Dimension Data's Mekseb Debesay, to find the best placed of last year's top finishers.
Quick-Step Floors' Fernando Gaviria won the opening three flat stages of last year's race, and then won the sixth and final stage for good measure. But the Colombian isn't back at the race, either, which opens the sprinting door up for the likes of Groupama-FDJ's Arnaud Démare, LottoNL-Jumbo's Dylan Groenewegen and German road race champion Pascal Ackermann (Bora-Hansgrohe).
For the overall crown, UAE Team Emirates' Fabio Aru is looking to save a season that has failed to go his way, and may be a very good bet, although he will be up against a recovering Richie Porte, who would love to win his his last race for BMC before joining Trek-Segafredo next year.
Youngsters Hugh Carthy (EF Education First-Drapac) – third overall at the Colorado Classic earlier this season and 15th overall at the Tour of Guangxi last year – and 2018 Tour of Utah winner Sepp Kuss (LottoNL-Jumbo) will also be worth keeping an eye on.