Qiansen Trophy Race Two – Fengtai Changxindian
Posted by auscxmag
Posted in News
words & photography: Sean Couley
For the second of the two UCI C1 races within China the event moved to the Beijing suburb of Fengtai Changxindian in the south west of the city. Riders would again be faced with very hot conditions above 30 degrees on a purpose built Cyclocross course for the event. Riders again were given two days ahead of practice on course after a morning of travel from Yanqing on the Thursday before the Saturday race.
The course for the race would be all about cornering ability in loose, dry conditions. During the practice sessions the general consensus was that the European competitors did not have much experience when a course got dusty. From the start straight riders went right and headed up a man-made ramp, across a road and under a flyovers always heading uphill. From here it was corner after corner both up and down hill until riders went over the flyover they previously went under and then back across the road onto the flat part of the course which featured many more corners and a double stair/ramp combination. Then it was back across the road headed for more twists and turns on the hill complete with a staircase before returning to the flat section for the final corners before the finish straight.
The elite women’s race started in the heat of the early afternoon under perfect sunny blue skies. As the start whistle blew it was Dutch rider Ceylin Alvarado who was the quickest with countrywomen Bianca Van den Hoek close behind and Australia’s Mel Anset in third as the riders headed over the ramp and up the first hill. Alvarado attacked immediately and by the time she returned back over the flyover she had already gained a 10 second advantage on Naomi Williams in second place, with Van den Hoek and Emily Kachorek close behind. Australian champion Bec Locke was just off the back of this group in fifth place and after her blistering start Anset was holding seventh after the first lap. Alvarado continued to extend her lead and was handling the many corners better than her opposition, while during the second lap Kachorek and Van den Hoek attacked Williams setting off in chase of the leader. As the race continued Alvarado further extended her lead and would never be caught taking her first ever UCI C1 victory. Emily Kachorek chased the hardest and crossed the line in second ahead of Bianca Van den Hoek in third. Naomi William maintained her position to cross the line in fourth going one better than the first race. Bec Locke found herself in a battle for fifth for the final laps of the race with Canada’s Ashley Barson and would eventually finish in fifth. It was another fantastic result for the Australian ladies.
When the elite men were called up one by one it was like fight night in Las Vegas with all 65 starters being introduced with plenty of gusto. As the whistle blew for the start a cloud of dust erupted as Chris Jongewaard lead the field around the first corner and over the ramp. Jongewaard and Marcel Wildhaber immediately created a gap on the field both handling the conditions noticeable better than the rest of the field. For the first four laps of the race Wildhaber and Jongewaard rode together maintaining a gap of over 15 seconds to the chasing Belgian crelan-vastgoedservice team mates Jens Adams and Race One winner Rob Peeters, but on lap five Wildhaber attacked Jongewaard and forced a gap that would not be closed by the end of the race. At the same time Rob Peeters had a mechanical leaving Adams to chase on his own with Marcel Wildhaber’s brother Michael now in fourth place. Marcel Wildhaber finished the race as victor with Chris Jongewaard improving on his previous result for an amazing second place and Jens Adams in third. Shaun Lewis had a fantastic race and entered the finish straight contesting a sprint finish that would have him finish in eleventh place. Again, it was a really exciting race to watch and finish off a fantastic week in China.