Tai Chi and lion dancing: The Tour peloton descends on Shanghai - Gallery

It's that time of the year when we get to see the stars of the Tour de France in Asia being placed into a range of incongruous situations.

In recent years the Saitama Criterium in Japan has represented a chance for the vastly western peloton to meet the Far East and its cultures, and this year organisers ASO – who run the Tour – have added the 'China Criterium' in Shanghai, where a media day was held on Saturday ahead of the race on Sunday.

While the Saitama media days have seen pro riders try their hand at sumo wrestling and Japanese archery, Saturday's event in Shanghai had them decked out in robes for Tai Chi and lion dancing.

Chris Froome wore yellow as the Tour de France champion, and he was joined by king of the mountains Warren Barguil in red and white, and by Marcel Kittel in green, the German having worn the points jersey up until his abandon late in the race. Alberto Contador was also front row as the 25 or so riders who will line up in Sunday's criterium were taken through three basic moves of Tai Chi, a Chinese martial art which is said to have numerous health benefits.

After some spirited attempts, and some not so spirited, the riders left the stage, while Froome, Kittel, and Barguil remained for the lion dancing, an ancient tradition in which performers dress in elaborate lion costumes and dance to a drum beat. Thankfully the riders were mere onlookers as the two-man lions carried out a range of acrobatic moves.

Click or swipe through the gallery for a full feast of photos of the activities and the media day as a whole. The race takes place on Sunday before the riders travel to Japan for the Saitama Criterium, where live eel catching and Taté sword combat will be on the agenda.

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