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Tour of Qinghai Lake - 2.HC

China, July 15-23, 2006

The world comes to China for the year's highest stage race

By Mark Gunter

The presentation
Photo ©: Mark Gunter
(Click for larger image)

As the Tour de France battles on in Europe, the nine stage Tour of Qinghai Lake (TQL) will be taking place in the north west reaches of China. This year's event is the fifth TQL, the first being held in 2002.

Along with the Tour de Langkawi it is the most important road race in Asia, covering 1344 km and reaching a dizzy altitude of 3860m which is sure to bring some interesting racing. The race has a 2.HC UCI classification.

Starting on July 15 on the shores of China's largest inland salt lake, Qinghai Lake, the race circles the lake before heading inland and reaching an altitude of 3860 m during stage 4. The race concludes in the province's capital Xining with 10 laps of an 8.4km street circuit.

UCI ProTeams Bouygues Telecom and Liquigas will be taking part as well as 14 Continental teams including Intel-Action from Poland, Relax-Gam from Spain, FRF Couriers-Caravello from Australia, DFL-Cyclingnews-Litespeed of Great Britain and the Marco Polo team which is based in China. South Africa, Canada and China will also attend with their national teams.

Qinghai Province has a Tibetan and Mongolian minority population as well as traditional ethnic groups, which will give the riders and entourage a unique experience unlike any other race in the world.

Team presentation photos

For a thumbnail gallery of these images, click here

Images by Mark Gunter/www.pbase.com/gunterphotograph