Marco Polo gets serious

Marco Polo Cycling Team training

Marco Polo Cycling Team training (Image credit: Francis Cerny)

After creating the first Chinese professional team, the Marco Polo Cycling Team held its first press conference before training camp in Zhuhai, Southern China. Around 15 journalists were present - newspapers, magazines, Zhuhai television and CCTV, Chinese national television.

Tian Junrong, Secretary General of the Chinese Cycling Association opened the meeting, followed by Todd McKean of Trek China, presenting the team's new bike. They were delighted with the professionalism of the event and the squad's beginnings. The team has received sponsorship from Nestle, Trek and Dutch company JP Print.

After the press conference, Marco Polo took to the roads around Zhuhai for the pre-season training camp. From all accounts, the camp was succcessful in forging bonds between the riders and staff.

The team's first goal for 2005 was the Tour of Siam in Thailand. This is the first UCI race in Asia in 2005 and therefore also the first race for the UCI Asia Continental Tour. Marco Poli's Jamsran Ulzii-Orshikh finished third overall in the race.

Although they aren't established as a force in world cycling, the Chinese riders on the Marco Polo roster are totally enthused by the prospect of racing at such a high level. The team aims to be as competitive as possible whilst enjoying the experience of racing against the likes of Mario Cipollini in the Doha GP and Tour of Qatar. The team taken to the United Arab Emirates for these races is:

Michael Carter (USA) Ulzii-Orshikh Jamsran (Mgl) Chi Yin Leung (Hkg) Maarten Tjallingii (Ned) Eddy Hollands (Aus) Yu Tong (Chn) Li Fuyu (Chn) Rhys Pollock (Aus)

Replacement riders: René van Oord (Ned), Chengguang Yu (Chn)


For a thumbnail gallery of these images, click here

Images by Francis Cerny/Nikon Camera

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