TOUR O F CHONGMI N G ISLAND
It’s always a challenge to fit three stages onto Chongming Island. Measuring 80km long, and 18km at the widest point, the highest point is the ramp on to the road bridge across the Yangtze River. The Island’s urban areas are mostly built in grid patterns, with wide roads through the farmland, so the terrain doesn’t offer many challenges – but of course the peloton bring those with them. It’s one of only two WorldTour races outside of Europe, and being very definitely one for the sprinters, a lot of the big Classics and GC names will miss it, as it’s practically guaranteed bunch finishes. But that isn’t strictly a bad thing, as after the spring Classics, it enables a new set of riders to shine, and offers chances to the Asian riders especially - such as Huang Ting Ying of Taipei, who last year won two stages and finished just one second from winning.
The organisers try to take the race off the Island, with a 2016 stage visiting neighbouring Changxing Island via the Yangtze Tunnel. Because it’s completely flat, the in-race and finish-line bonus seconds are vital to the overall, making the racing full of attacking, and more exciting than the course profile suggests.
Don't be fooled by the comparatively lat terrain – the sprints are brutal