Still a bit jet-lagged and remembering the course from last year, I had pretty low expectations for Stage 1 of the Tour of Chongming Island but I ended up having an awesome day! Nothing much happened in the race, but that was to be expected given the course and the start list including many of the top sprinters. It was only ever going to be a sprint finish. But whilst stopping at spots to take photos on the course, I got to experience a bit more of Chongming Island. Meeting people on the roadside who were really excited to have the race running through their town.
I stopped in one restaurant to ask if I could take a photo through their window. The next thing I know I’m sat at a table with the locals with a shot of wine thrust into my hand and offers to share their meal. I don’t speak their language and the only English they knew (bizarrely) was ‘Leicester City’ but we had a great time before it was time to rush off to the next spot.
At another location on the course a group of women we’re performing a dance with scarves whilst playing drums. A tiny, old woman who I guess was their coach tried to teach me some moves. It was a real carnival atmosphere.
Some people can be a bit down on the Tour of Chongming Island but it really does offer something different, which is a welcome change after a busy Spring in Europe where many of the races start to blur into each other.
Here’s a few photos from the opening stage.