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8th Tour of South China Sea - 2.5

China, December 25, 2003 - January 1, 2004


Following the success of the Tour of South China Sea over the last seven years, the race organiser is looking at expanding the Tour this year. As in past years, the Tour will start on December 25 in Hong Kong, and travel via Shenzhen, Dongguan and Zhuhai in the southern part of China, before finishing in front of the Jockey Club in Macau on January 1, 2004.

In a change from previous years, the first stage will not be a time trial, but a mass start road race. This is designed to enliven the race, which has traditionally been dominated by defensive tactics from the strongest riders after Stage 1.

The start list includes teams from all over the world, making this race one of the most international races on the calendar, in line with the UCI strategy of making cycling a global sport. Teams will come from Hong Kong, China, Japan, Netherlands, Australia, Czech Republic, Germany, Kazakhstan, Russia, Slovakia, Taipei and the USA. Contenders for the title include Hong Kong's own Kam Po Wong, the winner of the 2001 edition and starting as number 1, but also Russian champion Oleg Grishkine, Wang Guozhang from China and Australian sprint ace Brett Aitken.

Added to the program of races in Hong Kong and surrounding areas, is the Hong Kong Cycle Classic, a 96 km criterium in the centre of Hong Kong which will take place on January 4, 2004. World Time Trial Champion and former Hong Kong resident David Millar will take part in this event, which has a prize list of US$60,000. Millar celebrates his birthday on January 4 and could be in line for a nice birthday present, however with top track riders such as Bruno Risi, Franz Stocher and Scott McGrory also present, it doesn't look likely that the rest of the field will give Millar an easy ride on his birthday.