Chongming Island is, unsurprisingly, an island on the Eastern side of China. Roughly twice the size of the Isle of Man it’s almost pan-flat with the highest point being 2.6 metres above sea-level. With that in mind, the race has always been a sprint fest. There are 3 stages in the race, which takes place between 9th-11th May and all 3 should come down to a sprint finish with the top-end of the General Classification being decided by the bonus seconds picked up by those winning stages. There’s no past winners racing in 2019 and only 2 previous podium finishers on the start list.
Information for the stages of this race has been near impossible to get hold of with an official website seemingly not existing – the best I can do is these pictures thanks to a user on Reddit.
Tour of Chongming Island Stage 1 & 2 Profiles
Women’s Tour of Chongming Island 2019 Favourites
ParkHotel Valkenberg’s Lorena Wiebes is the sprinter in the best form at the moment. Her break-out 2019 season has seen her sprint to victory at the recent Tour de Yorkshire, Omloop van Borsele and Nokere Koerse with runner-up spots at Gent-Wevelgem and Driedaagse De Panne. Wiebes is shaping up to be a future superstar of the sport and with a startlist missing some of the bigger names of women’s cycling – she’s a massive contender to take out all 3 stages and the Overall.
Australian Sarah Roy has done well here before, sprinting to 4th Overall in 2017. She did well in the Australian part of the season, winning the points jersey at the Tour Down Under and has found herself just outside the top-10 in a number of the Spring Classics before netting a 10th place at the Tour de Yorkshire. In a reduced quality field, she’s capable of getting top-5 finishes.
In theory Claudia Koster is WNT-Rotor’s sprinter but she’s been out since the end of March with a broken hand she got in a crash at Gent-Wevelgem. She managed top-10s at the early season Setmana Valenciana and 14th at the flat Drentse Acht van Westerveld. Another rider where the reduced quality in the field will see her get good results – if fit. Her lead-out rider at Setmana Valenciana was Lara Vieceli. She’s had a quiet Spring Classics season since the good results in Spain but the sprint hope could fall to her if Koster isn’t back to full fitness yet.
TIBCO’s Shannon Malseed was 2nd Overall here last year. She’s also been 2nd Overall already this year at the Joe Martin Stage Race in America – also winning a stage along the way. She’s less of a sprinter but more of a solid stage racers – her 2nd place here last year was achieved by managing to get herself in the break that gained lots of time on the rest of the peloton. Nina Kessler is more likely to be the one sprinting for TIBCO at the end of stages. So far in 2019, she’s not broken into the top-10 at any race but has plenty of finishes between 10th and 20th place. With many of the bigger names not racing, she’ll be more likely to break that duck and get a top-10 finish.
Anastasiia Chursina was in the same successful breakaway as Malseed last year and finished 3rd Overall. She’s another rider who will be looking to disappear off the front rather than trying to out-sprint others. Her best result in 2019 is 4th at the Trofeo Alfredo Binda, where she finished amongst the best of the women’s WorldTour on a lumpy parcours. Mia Radotic is likely to be the sprinter for BTC-City Ljubljana. Probably a remote chance to win a stage, she’ll be happy with a spot in the top-10 instead.
Lotto-Soudal have brought three strong riders in sprinter Lotte Kopecky and current Belgian national champion Annelies Dom and Demi de Jong. Kopecky had a great Spring with lots of top-10 results, peaking with trips to the podium at Nokere Koerse and Driedaagse De Panne. She’s one of the strongest riders at the Tour of Chongming Island and is a genuine favourite for the Overall. Annelies Dom often finds herself helping teammates but managed to get 9th at Nokere Koerse for herself after helping Kopecky get an even higher position. She’ll be a rider trying to get herself off the front and get some time gaps. Demi de Jong does well on the flatter parcours, getting her best finishes so far in 2019 at Omloop van het Hageland, Drentse Acht van Westerveld and Le Samyn (3rd). She’ll either be able to sprint for herself or be supporting Kopecky by being a great lead-out rider.
Jutatip Maneephan won 2 stages and the Overall at the Women’s Tour of Thailand in April to show some good form. She finished 12th Overall at the Tour of Chongming Island last year with a best placing of 7th. She spent a season racing for Italian team S.C. Michela Fanini Rox in 2017 where she held her own in the lesser races but DNF-ed all of the WorldTour races she took part in. She’s particularly strong when racing in Thailand but also does well in a lot of the Asian Tour races.
Doltini-Van Eyck’s Pascale Jeuland-Tranchant is another rider who spent their Spring finishing around 20th place in each race. She peaked with 16th at Brabantse Pijl and did best in other races that involved a sprint finish but well down in the pack in hillier races like Liege-Bastogne-Liege. With no hills to worry about on Chongming Island, she’ll be looking to sprint her way into the top-10.
I asked Grace Garner who was going to win the Tour of Chongming Island and she said Hitec’s Lucy Garner. However, she may be biased. In fairness she has won a stage and finished 3rd Overall at the Tour of Chongming Island as an 18 year old way back in 2013. She also won the mountains classification last year. Her best result in 2019 is 6th place at the Healthy Ageing Tour. She’ll also be supported by Marta Tagliaferro who has sprinted to 7 top-10 stages over the years at this race.
Women’s Tour of Chongming Island 2019 Prediction
1st – Lorena Wiebes
2nd – Lotte Kopecky
3rd – Sarah Roy