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Tour of Qinghai Lake - 2.HC

China, July 14-22, 2007

Nine days on the Tibetan plateau

By Mark Gunter

Maarten Tjallingii (Skil-Shimano) triumphed by a mere second in 2006
Photo ©: Mark Gunter
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The Tour of Qinghai Lake is on again, and this, the sixth edition of the 2.HC event will take place over a nine-day period high on the Tibetan plateau. Set in Qinghai Provence, the Tour of Qinghai Lake is one of the most picturesque and unique races in the world with this year's race covering 1342.7 km over nine stages and reaching 3880 metres at its highest point.

The race has a similar course to last year except for Stage 1, which starts in Xining and finishes at last year's starting point, China's largest inland lake and former nuclear submarine testing ground, Qinghai Lake.

Twenty-one teams will fight it out for the US$250,000 prize pool, and without last year's winner Maarten Tjallingii (Skill-Shimano), the favourite will undoubtedly come from Discovery Channel. Tom Danielson, who won the inaugural event in 2002, will lead the American team, but the Spanish based Relax-Gam squad is bringing its own trump card in Francisco Mancebo, who will also have a strong chance to take overall honours.

Relax-Gam impressed at last year's race and will be keen to show their climbing skills once again this year. The Giant Asia Racing Team cannot be discounted either, after coming so close last year when Hossein Askari finished just one second behind Tjallingii.

In total, 147 riders from 21 cycling teams, including UCI ProTour, Professional Continental, Continental and national teams will take part in the highest cycling race in the world.