The 2014 Tour of Beijing will feature “the toughest parcours in the short history of the event," with the first stage of the this year’s race starting in the mountains north of Beijing and introducing the riders to climbing right from the get-go.
The five-stage WorldTour race, held from October 10-14 will end with a city centre stage that starts in Tiananmen Square and finishes with a circuit around the Olympic area.
The long-term future of the race is reportedly in doubt with officials from the Beijing Sports Bureau set to evaluate the impact and benefits of the race before deciding on future editions.
“This year the racing promises to again be fierce and the route highlights a different side of China than most people are used to seeing,” said Global Cycling Promotion director Alain Rumpf said. “For the past three years the Tour of Beijing has showcased breathtaking views of the Great Wall, Beijing’s mountain terrain and tourism attractions such as Tiananmen Square and the Bird’s Nest. The opening stage is along a ridge on the mountains above Chongli and Zhangjiajkou, it is home to hundreds of clean energy generating wind turbines and will be a solid test for the peloton.”
Stage one runs 176km from Chongli to Zhangjiakou, and is a “ a tough assignment, with a long climb early, high altitude and an undulating road.” Three ranked climbs come early on, and from there, “the road continually rises and falls, twists and turns for a total of 124km before the peloton descends to 750 metres for an impressive finish at Zhangjiakou.”
The second stage will be a bit easier, with two category 3 climbs and an expected bunch sprint finish. It is 147.5km between Chongli and Yanqing. Stage three is the longest in the race, 176km from Yanqing to Qianjiadian Chao Yang. Along the way, the peloton will tackle seven categorised climbs, including the category 1 Si Hai.
The Queen Stage is next. The 157km from Yanqing to the Miofeng Mountain Summit, is nearly identical to the stage from last year, but adds another climb, a category 2, before the final climb. It will take the riders through the Great Wall on its way over five more climbs before the closing 12km climb up to the finish.
The race closes in Beijing with the now-tradition course starting at Tiananmen Square and finishing with 12 laps of a circuit around the Olympic area and Bird’s Nest Stadium.
Spain's Benat Intxausti (Movistar) won the 2013 Tour of Beijing ahead of Daniel Martin (Garmin-Sharp) and David Lopez (Team Sky).