Tour of Chongming Island History
It’s been a long wait to get back to the Tour of Chongming Island which each edition since 2019 affected by the Covid pandemic in some fashion. Before then though, it was actually quite a regular trip to China and we’re just out of the routine now. It’s not helped by its new placement right at the end of the season. Many teams are already done for the year and aren’t fussed about a trip East unless there’s a particular focus on UCI points. The last edition saw a then young, talented but slightly raw Lorena Wiebes take all 3 stages and the overall general classification.
Back then, the race was held in the space where April turns into May and it was firmly a part of the Women’s WorldTour from its inception in 2016. Despite sprinters generally doing well, they’ve not had it all their own way. In 2019, Charlotte Becker won a stage which saw 5 riders go clear by over a minute. Naturally that decided the GC that year. To have to go all the way back to 2008 to find another successful break as every other edition has come down to bonus seconds in the sprints. A number of riders have won the Tour of Chongming Island twice but no rider has ever won the GC 3 times. Kirsten Wild, Ina-Yoko Teutenberg and Li Meifeng are the successful trio.
Tour of Chongming Island 2023 Profiles
Stage 1 Profile
Stage 2 Profile
Stage 3 Profile
Tour of Chongming Island 2023 Contenders
It’s a race for sprinters and the best one on paper here will be Chiara Consonni of UAE Team ADQ. The Italian has 3 wins this season and this should be an opportunity to pad those numbers a little bit. She last won at the start of September at the Grote Prijs Beerens and could potentially win all 3 sprints here. She does have a little bit of a habit of not finishing off these Wiebes/Balsamo/Kool-less opportunities, however.
Ceratizit-WNT heads to China with a good handful of options. Mylene de Zoete got the shout at Binche-Chimay-Binche and finished in 6th place. They’ve also got Marta Lach who had a fun September winning GP Fourmies and Grisette Grand Prix de Wallonie. The Pole is better on hillier sprints, of which there firmly isn’t one at the Tour of Chongming Island. Kathrin Schweinberger could also do well after finishing 4th at Konvert Kortrijk Koerse but is also coming back from an injury in a crash at the Simac Ladies Tour. So it might all end up being on the shoulders of Martina Fidanza. She’s had a bit of her own injury issues since finishing 2nd at Grote Prijs Beerens.
I’m assuming that we’ll see Emilia Fahlin get to sprint here for FDJ-Suez. The experienced Swede is so far unconfirmed anywhere for 2024 and this will be a late opportunity to put herself in the shop window. In this sort of sprint field, there should be some top-10s available for her. Her teammate Vittoria Guazzini has had a bit of a rough second half of the season but otherwise would be a decent favourite. She could be back to form herself or she might be here as a strong domestique instead. There’s also Gladys Verhulst who has talked recently about trying to gain the confidence to sprint for her own opportunities in her first season on a WWT team. The winner of La Picto-Charentaise should get an opportunity here and it’s up to her to take it.
Human Powered Health should be able to contend well here with Daria Pikulik a great option to have. She won on the first day of the 2023 Women’s WorldTour season and has the potential to also win in the last week at the Tour of Chongming Island. Maybe not quite as strong as say Chiara Consonni, but she’s not too far behind and would be classed in the same tier. The Pole has won 4 races in 2023, including a pair last month at the Tour de l’Ardeche.
Anniina Ahtosalo is finishing the season strong, finishing on the podium at Binche-Chimay-Binche recently. The Finn has developed nicely this season with a number of good results. There’s an outside chance of a first non-national championships victory but any strong result here will be useful to take into the 2024 season.
There are a few options for Israel-Premier Tech Roland here. The Canadian Maggie Coles-Lyster took a top-10 recently at the Simac Ladies Tour and also did well in a reduced quality field at the Tour Down Under. Her teammate Tamara Dronova can do well but I think the parcours here is probably too flat for her to do really well. Thi That Nguyen might do well here after a quiet return to the top-level women’s peloton, especially as her best results have come in Asian races this year.
Danique Braam has taken a series of top-10 results recently. That included a pair of them at the Tour de l’Ardeche, 3rd place at Egmont Cycling Race, 9th at Konvert Kortrijk Koerse and 4th at the Baloise Ladies Tour. The Duolar-Chevalmaire rider should be able to get similar results here against this field.
Somewhat surprisingly Rachele Barbieri doesn’t even have a podium finish this season. The Italian was strong last year but just hasn’t hit the same heights again. That’s partly down to unfortunate crashes but she’s also not quite on the same pace. It’s her first race since leaving the Tour de France Femmes early. Teammate Tereza Neumanova might get a rare chance instead. The Czech rider doesn’t seem to get the chances that her results should earn, especially after 7th at the Vuelta a Burgos and 6th at the UAE Tour Women much earlier in the season. This should be a good chance before she moves on to UAE Team ADQ for 2024.
Jayco-AlUla will bring both Georgia Baker and Nina Kessler to the Tour of Chongming Island. The race sits in an interesting spot for Aussies as their national championships aren’t too far away and whilst it’s the end of the season for many, it’s the beginning of the next phase of training for them. Compared to Europe, it’s a long but relatively quick jaunt home too. Georgia Baker doesn’t have a UCI win this year and her only podium came back at the Tour Down Under at the start of the year. That’s why it could be a wildcard sprint for Nina Kessler too. She was 8th on a Vuelta Femenina stage and can do well against this field before going to EF Cannondale next year.
Tour of Chongming Island 2023 Outsiders
Sophie Edwards won a couple of prestigious races this year, including the non-UCI but historically important Melbourne-Warrnambool and the Oceania Road Race. It’s going to be a relatively rare glimpse of the Oceania jersey. She was also 4th and 9th on stages of the Thüringen Ladies Tour. Teammate Lucinda Stewart is only 18 years old but is one to watch. The Aussie was 9th on the opening stage of the Tour Down Under and spent the European summer racing in Europe. She took a few top-10s in non-UCI Belgian races and she’s definitely one to watch.
Amongst the various neutral athlete issues that the Belarussian Hanna Tserakh has had this year, it means this is the first UCI race of the season for her. Tserakh has always done well in the Turkish races and was a threat just before Covid at the Dubai Women’s Tour. It’s honestly difficult knowing what level she will be at compared to a partial WWT level peloton.
There’s also the likes of Josie Nelson and Lucie Jounier for whom there are good opportunities to finish the year off strongly. The season started well for Nelson but she’s unfortunately gone from injury to injury as crashes have affected her 2023 season. The Tour of Chongming Island gives her a chance to go out on a high. For Jounier, it’s a chance to get signed by another team hopefully in 2024. The French rider couldn’t fit within the budget for Coop-Hitec Products for next season and remains without a firm deal.