The Hot Zone
China's newly announced air defense identification zone over the East China Sea aims to shore up national security
Current Issue
· Table of Contents
· Editor's Desk
· Previous Issues
· Subscribe to Mag
Subscribe Now >>
Expert's View
Market Watch
North American Report
Government Documents
Expat's Eye
Photo Gallery
Reader's Service
Learning with
'Beijing Review'
E-mail us
RSS Feeds
PDF Edition
Reader's Letters
Make Beijing Review your homepage
Hot Links

cheap eyeglasses
Market Avenue

Print Edition> Lifestyle
UPDATED: December 17, 2012 NO. 51 DECEMBER 20, 2012
Dream on the Way
First Chinese rider completes top European cycling tour
By Chen Ran

Changes in cycling techniques also shocked Ji. He was told not to brake in a turn, something which he had done for years. "Things like this really frustrated me at the very beginning," he admitted.

"I never finished a race in my first two years in Europe," he continued. "Honestly, I considered quitting at one point."

Nothing else but persistence and hard work helped Ji move on. In 2009, he took part in the Liège–Bastogne–Liège in Belgium and the Tour de Luxemburg, picking up experience in classic events.

Unfortunately, an accident at 2011 Tour de Pologne (Tour of Poland) in early August cast a shadow on Ji's career. He crashed over a guardrail when descending the mountain to make a sharp right turn. Ruptured muscles in his left thigh kept him away from cycling for six months.

"I grew anxious and irritated when the best available treatment specialists could offer was staying in bed with my leg in the air," Ji recalled.

Fishing became Ji's only pastime. "I had been in a blue mood since my injury. I did not want my family to worry about me so I kept them away from this. I ate less and really did not know what to do every day except fish," he said.

His injured thigh, swollen by 11 cm, took five months to fully recover after a challenging bout of rehab.

In mid March, Ji made a stunning comeback at 2012 Milano-San Remo, becoming the first Chinese to finish the longest professional one-day race at 298 km since 1907. Moreover, he also participated in the Tour de France training camp.

"Now, I appreciate how and why training works and helps," Ji said. "I don't think European riders are stronger. I have nothing to lose, so why not try? The more I experience in Europe, the better I understand cycling."

Besides independence, Ji has also learnt the importance of team work from cycling.

"Road cycling is a group event. We believe in 'All for one, and one for all.' If the team is a vehicle, then all the team members including riders, coaches, machinists, massagers and other staff are its parts. I suppose I am the engine. My job is to ensure my teammates feature in the last 150 meters and win the sprint," he said.

Bringing out potential

Jin, Ji's teammate till 2010, has a good understanding of the training difference between Europe and China. Usually, European riders from all levels train through races to shape up prior to big events. Their Chinese counterparts, however, train on a daily basis which tends to cause spiritual numbness. Worse still, domestic professional races are inferior to those in Europe with regards to quality and quantity.

"The ultimate goal for cycling in China is to make talented young riders love the sport and enjoy racing by giving them more opportunities," Jin, Assistant Coach of the Hong Kong Cycling Team, told Beijing Review.

"Sending promising riders to train overseas is an option, but only on a small scale due to the high costs involved. We could also adopt the good habits as well as training and race principles from  our professional European counterparts," he suggested.

Currently, some 40 professional races take place across China every year. According to Pan Zhichen, Director of Cycling and Fencing Management Center under the General Administration of Sport of China, cycling events and the outstanding performance of Chinese Olympians have helped promote the sport nationwide.

"More talented athletes will emerge if more people participate in cycling. We will continue our efforts in pushing forward professionalism in Chinese cycling by sending riders to race at high-level events such as the Grand Tours," Pan noted.

Guillen echoed Pan's view. "To race in Europe at a professional level is different from doing so in lower categories. It is evident that cyclists in China are gathering more experience and that we will soon have more local cyclists competing in professional tournaments," he said.

Even though the recent doping scandal involving seven-time Tour de France winner Lance Armstrong tarnished cycling, Ji's dream is still to come true.

"If I were racing in all three Grand Tours, my career would be close to perfect. I am a test to see whether Chinese riders are capable of racing in Europe's top events. I wish more talented riders could undergo training overseas, and I hope I could contribute my experience to Chinese cycling," he said.

Email us at: liuyunyun@bjreview.com

   Previous   1   2  

Top Story
-Protecting Ocean Rights
-Partners in Defense
-Fighting HIV+'s Stigma
-HIV: Privacy VS. Protection
-Setting the Tone
Most Popular
About BEIJINGREVIEW | About beijingreview.com | Rss Feeds | Contact us | Advertising | Subscribe & Service | Make Beijing Review your homepage
Copyright Beijing Review All right reserved