Team Skoda Racing are heading to China to take on the Tour of Quanzhou Bay – one of the closing internationally ranked UCI 2.2 races in the season. The race is a new addition to the Asian UCI circuit and will be contested over 3 days – 2-4th December. The tour will consist of three stages with the stage two hilltop finish likely to decide the general classification. Team Skoda Racing come to the race on the back of recent successful trips to the Tour of Southland and the Tour of Tasmania in Australia.
Lining up for Team Skoda Racing are some of the country’s best Under 23 talent. Leading the Team will be Tour of Southland U23 pink jersey winner Alex West. West, who rode the ‘Baby Giro’ (Tour of Italy) for the New Zealand U23 National team this year. West is no stranger to the big races and should excel on the mountain top finish. Joining West will be Tour of Southland teammates Joel Yates and Max Jones. Both riders have performed solidly over the spring with Yates taking a solo victory at the Abel Tasman Classic in Nelson.
Auckland riders, Connor Brown and Ben Hamilton take on the tour after very successful 2017 campaigns. Hamilton competed at the World Championships in Bergen, Norway this year while Brown has etched his way to the top end of the National Road Series in Australia. Rounding out the team for the tour will be Jack Compton. Compton joins the team as a mountain biker crossing over to road. Compton competed in the 2017 Mountain Bike World Championships in Cairns and has focused on building his road skillset this spring and should also be a strong contender for the stage two finish.
Team manager, Scott Fairbairn says, “China has always been a part of the world we have really wanted to race in. Our cycling clothing sponsor – CCN Sport – are from China and this is a great chance to meet the team and really showcase their brand on their own doorstep”.
“For us, China was the next step in the development for the team. The level of racing has increased significantly over the last few years in China and we are excited about testing ourselves against some of the best in the region. We understand that top ranked team Mitchelton Scott will be at the race and this will be a great chance to benchmark our riders against their line-up.”
Team Skoda Racing head to the tour with plenty of depth and options to play across all three stages. Fairbairn says, “We will go to the tour with a good mix of riders. For the overall, we will look to Alex and Jack to carry the team hopes given the profile of the tour across the three days. We will take our chances on the two flatter days with the likes of Max and Ben hunting out breakaways and for the sprints we have two capable guys in Joel and Connor.”
The Tour of Quanzhou Bay runs from the 2nd to the 4th December and takes in three stages around the wider Quanzhou area. The race will feature a flat first stage (88km), followed by a hill top finish (111km) on the second day and an inner city circuit (91km) on the final day.
Full team line up
Riders: Alex West, Joel Yates, Jack Compton, Max Jones, Ben Hamilton, Connor Brown
Management: Scott Fairbairn, Dan Waluszewski, Scott McKendry