SHANGHAI, China, May 5, 2016 /PRNewswire/ -- Get ready, cycling fans! The Tour of Chongming Island, a key race on the new UCI Women's World Tour calender, kicks off today. The three-day stage-event will feature 18 of the world's best women's road cycling teams, including Wiggle High5, Cylance Pro Cycling, The Team Ale' Cipollini and China Chongming-Liv-Champion System Pro Cycling.
Past Tour of Chongming winners under the former World-Cup classification system include Italy's Giorgia Bronzini, Kirsten Wild of the Netherlands and Shelley Olds of the US.
This year's race is the seventh in a series of 17 road-race events under the newly launched Women's World Tour classification system. It is the only event of its kind to be hosted in Asia this year, as well as one of only three taking place outside of Europe. British rider and current Women's World Road Race champion Lizzie Armistead (Boels-Dolmans) currently leads in the World-Tour standing after claiming this honor from teammate Chantal Blaak in late March.
As with other stage races, this year's Tour of Chongming will include jerseys in a number classifications; including for the rider with the best overall time, as well as the best young rider.
Altogether, the race covers 351 kilometers over three stages. The race starts and finishes at Xincheng Park on Chongming Avenue.
The first stage is 139.8 kilometers and takes riders over the Shanghai Yangtze River Bridge and through Changxing Island. For sprinters, there will points up for grabs at markers posted 21.7km and 92.9km from the start line.
The second stage, known as the Chongxi stage, covers 112.8 kilometers and will take riders along the island's coast line. As an alluvial island formed by silt carried along the Yangtze River, Chongming Island is known for its beautiful river banks.
The third stage will take riders around a 11km circuit for a total of 99km. Sprinters' points will be available at 33km and 77 kilometers from the start line.
As in previous editions, this year's Tour of Chongming is expected to favor sprinters and fast-finishers thanks to the course's relatively flat terrain. Ocean winds in the first and second stages though could lead to splits in the peloton, potentially thwarting teams hoping for glory in a bunch finish.
With an abundance of scenic cycling routes, refreshing breezes and well-surfaced roads, Shanghai's Chongming Island is a great place for both elite racers and recreational riders. Chongming Island has a long history of hosting cycling races, including national races as early as 2003. It joined the women's World Cup series in 2009, making it one of the most important events of the year for elite female cyclists.
The race is hosted by International Cycling Union, the General Administration of Sports of China and the Shanghai Municipal People's Government.
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SOURCE Chongming County Government