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Marco Polo Cycling Club

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Mifune surprises World and Olympic Champions

Great event in Asia’s dynamic World City!!


The inaugural edition of the Hong Kong Cycle Classic was surprisingly won by Masahiko Mifune from Japan. The 34-year old rider from the CMS World Wide Cycling Team made his move in the final lap breaking clear from the fastest sprinters in the first group: Brett Aitken, Sergey Koudentsov and Scott McGrory and beating Cameron Hughes and Milan Dovrschik on the line. With riders like Aitken, Koudentsov, Mc Grory, Grishkin, Risi, Stocher and Ijima, taking 6th to 12th, the win of the strong Japanese rider can be called a big surprise.


The course along the International Exhibition Center, one of the main landmarks on the coast of Hong Kong Island, knew quite some corners and this made it easier for groups to break away from the 100 rider field. As the speed was high from the beginning, many riders with less experience, especially from the Chinese and local Hong Kong teams dropped off the field early.

With a lot of money in the points classment and sprints every two laps, there was fierce sprinting from the second lap and soon some riders broke clear. When the Hong Kong Stars team (David Millar, Robert Hayles, Bruno Risi, Franz Stocher, Scott McGrory) had two riders in the front and also the Bicisport Team from Australia and the World Wide Cycling Team had two riders up there, things started to look serious. As Sergey Koudentsov from the Moscow Omnisport team was jumping over quickly, the break of the day was formed. Mifune and Bradford, Aitken and Hughes, McGrory and Hayles were the combinations, with Bushanski, Koudentsov and Dovrschik on their own. The Hong Kong stars team had two riders in the front, Millar had his friend Hayles there and also the strong teams from Moscow, Bicisport and World Wide Cycling sat back. Wong Kam Po tried to put his team on the front, but ended up doing the work by himself and the technical circuit did not really suit him. He did get some support from the Marco Polo riders and the national team from Japan, but they also did not succeed in bringing the gap back to less then 40 seconds.

As the speed went up when the field started chasing, Hayles fell off the first group, just like his friend David Millar did in the field. The world champion time trial did not look fit at all and had to give up just a few laps before the end and even collapsed when he got off the bike. He was all right again after laying down for a few minutes.

So the maximum lead of 1 minute 15 was enough to give the leading group some space to play and especially Australians Chris Bradford and Cameron Hughes were very active in their efforts for their team leaders: Brett Aitken and Masahiko Mifune. When Bradford attacked with just over one lap to go, Hughes was the first to follow him and Mifune was not far. Dovrschik saw the danger and also brought Bushanski to the leaders. Fast men Koudentsov, Aitken and points winner McGrory were looking at each other and waited too long. They were just able to see that Mifune sprinted towards the victory easily.


There were a few thousand spectators, not as much as was hoped for, but experience learns that an event like this needs to be built up in a couple of years. The Hong Kong Cycling Association looks back on a successful event, with a lot of publicity in Hong Kong and Asia and hopes to be able to organise many more editions of the Hong Kong Cycle Classic in Asia’s World City.





At the start of 2004, the cycling world points its eyes towards Hong Kong, where Hong Kong Cycle Classic takes place. Asia’s dynamic world city offers great scenery for the first pro-crit in 2004, that will be held on the 4th of January at 8:30 in the morning, between the skyscrapers of downtown Hong Kong. The field includes several Olympic and World Champions, including the world time trial champion David Millar.


Favourites for the Hong Kong Cycle Classic include many participants from the Tour of South China Sea, that has just been held in Hong Kong, South China and Macao. The biggest riders however still have to arrive in Hong Kong:

David Millar (world Champion Time Trial), Scott McGrory (Olympic Champion Madison); Bruno Risi (6 times world Champion, current WC Madison);  Robert Hayles (silver medal World Championships Team pursuit) and Franz Stocher (World Champion points race) will be present. Olympic Champion Brett Aitken is in Hong Kong, but had to draw back from the Tour and it is still unsure if he will be able to take part in the first HKCC.

For Millar the 4th of Januari will be a special day. It is not only his birthday, but Millar was also raised in Hong Kong, where he started cycling! His father still lives there, so the tall rider with the Scottish nationality will be looking for a nice present to celebrate his birthday!!


The riders that showed their form and had a good preparation in the South China Sea Tour include Hong Kong’s own Kam Po Wong, a well known Asian top-rider, winning many medals in Asian and Chinese Championships and with a proven record of beating the European pro’s.  Wong showed great form in the 8-day Tour of South China Sea, that just ended and in which he finished second after courageous, but not very clever racing.

Also Oleg Grishkin from Russia and Brett Aitken from Australia can be counted among the favourites after the Tour of South China Sea. Both of them delivered some very impressive sprints, making Grishkin the overall Tour winner, but Olympic Madison Champion Brett Aitken had to drop out of the South China Sea Tour because of a knee injury and is not sure to start the Hong Kong Cycle Classic at this moment. Grishkin has the important advantage of having a strong team around him, whereas other riders only have the support of one or two team mates strong enough to do something in the final. Sergei Koudentsov is absolutely the first outsider in the HKCC, as he won two stages in the Tour around the pearl river delta, that has just ended. The CMS World Wide Cycling Team from Hong Kong may have some outsiders, with fast sprinters Samai and Wanwan from Indonesia (next year new Wismilak Trade Team 3 from Indonesia) Masahiko Mifune (traditionally strong in this race) and powerhouse Chris Bradford from Australia. Just like the Marco Polo Cycling Team with Chris Baumann from the USA and Felix Rohrbach from Germany.

Other strong outsiders: Makato Ijima from Japan and Hung Hsu Ying Chie from Chinese Taipei, they had good results during the last eight days. The teams of KED Bianchi (GER), Ducla Trancin (SLO) and Kazakhstan will also be close to the winners. Ducla Praha has been mentioned as the only team coming from the South China Tour, not taking part in the Hong Kong Classic.


The course of the Hong Kong Cycle Classic, is a 2.4 km lap between the skyscrapers and along the sea, near the Exhibition Center. With totally 40 laps to cover, the race will finish after 96 km. As there is no altitude difference and the corners are wide, the race will know a very high average speed, offering chances for the fast sprinters. With many track riders in their six days form present, the winner may come from this side of the field. The riders that did the Tour of South China Sea may however have an advantage over the new arrivals. Or… will David Millar show his Hong Kong fans why he is the World Champion time trial and give a solo demonstration of his power!!??






David Millar celebrates in Hong Kong Cycle Classic


On the 4th of January 2004 the inaugural edition of the Hong Kong Cycle Classic will take place. The race will be 96 kilometres long and the course is just over 2.4 kilometres, located in the Wanchai and Admiralty District, between the impressive skyscrapers of the dynamic metropole.


Participants of the Cycle Classic in Asia’s World City include the World Champion Time Trial David Millar, who was born and raised in Hong Kong AND has his birthday on the 4th of January!! Track stars present will include Bruno Risi (6 times World Champion), Scott McGrory (Olympic gold medallist madison) and Franz Stocher (World Champion points race). Some other top riders to be presented later. The biggest part of the field will be formed by riders from teams that participate in the Tour of South China Sea (UCI 2.5) that finishes a few days before on Macao. The Tour of South China Sea starts from Hong Kong and passes through South China before finishing in Macao. 


Teams in both races include Hong Kong’s Marco Polo Cycling Team, Webcor USA; Dukla Praha Czech Republic; Giant Asia Racing Team Taiwan; Mroz Poland and Chinese and Kazakhstan national teams as well as some amateur teams from Europe, USA and Australia. The total field will be over 100 riders. Amongst the favourites is of course also Kam Po Wong, Hong Kong’s superstar, member of the Marco Polo Cycling Team.


Mr Frederick Chan, Secretary General of the Hong Kong Cycling Association is very pleased to be able to host and organise the event. “This has been a dream of us for years. We are really delighted that it is possible now to have the event in the great scenery of downtown Hong Kong, with world stars lined up to participate!! Of course the participation of David Millar, whom we still know from childhood, is another dream coming true and I want to especially thank the World Wide Cycling organisation (management Marco Polo Cycling Club) for their efforts to find a world class field for this race! Of course also Leisure and Cultural Services Department of the Hong Kong Special Administrative Region have made this event possible, cannot be thanked enough! 

This is another proof that cycling has a high standard in Hong Kong, next to the Tour of South China Sea, the results of our national team and the Marco Polo Cycling Trade Team.”


David Millar himself: “It is great for cycling that this event can be held in Hong Kong. Let’s hope there will be more races like this on exciting places all over the world. For me it is even more special, as it is on my birthday and I am happy to be able to celebrate this in Hong Kong, where I grew up and where my father lives!”


Cor Vos, the famous cycling photographer from Holland will be covering the race: “Downtown Hong Kong offers great scenery, which I will try to capture in my pictures. I hear that even more cycling-celebrities may be coming, so I can’t wait to start shooting and spread the images over the world!”


Race information:


Hong Kong Cycle Classic


The inaugural edition of the Hong Kong Cycle Classic will take place on January 4 2004. Invited are some of the world’s best cyclists amongst them World- and Olympic Champions who will compete for victory on mid city streets of Hong Kong. Among the participants is David Millar, the current World Champion individual time trial.


Being the first pro-race of 2004 will add to the excitement as cyclists compete for the honour and glory of the season's first win.


The 2.4 kilometre course will be a fast and exciting demonstration of top Pro cyclist's in action as they weave through the fast but also technical course at high speed. An added dimension is the inclusion of many track riders who excel at this type of racing.


 So what can we expect on the 4th of January in the first pro-race of the year.


Most participants in the race have raced in the Tour of South China Sea, a UCI international stage race, which finished on January 1st. This fast Tour is the perfect preparation and with 2 days to recuperate they will be in great shape to put on a  good performance in the Hong Kong Cycle Classic.

Some of these riders are from Australia and South Africa, countries that have their summer now which means that these riders are in the middle of their season and in top condition giving them chances for the victory on Hong Kong’s streets.

But they will have to compete against the absolute best cyclists of the world, amongst whom are very fast sprinters who will want to keep the group together like those from Indonesia and the USA not to mention the Pro riders such as Bruno Risi or Franz Stocher, World Champions and specialist in points races on the track.

However other riders will try to break-away in a group or by themselves. For example someone like Scott Mc Grory, Olympic Champion in the Madison, a discipline on the track where teams of two riders take turns. These riders have the ability to break-away in a small group or by themselves and maintain a high speed for long periods of time. Rob Hayles, who is vice- World Champion in the team pursuit, is also a strong bet for a break-away in a group or alone.


Finally of course the ultimate specialist for a solo break-away is the current World Champion in the Individual Time Trial David Millar. And it is a very special day for David, on the 4th of January he celebrates his birthday so he can give himself a very special birthday present…


So that is the battle , between those who want to contain the race and make it a furious last dash to the line and others who want to tear the field wide open and win alone or from a small group.


Finally we must mention Hong Kong's own Kam Po Wong. Kam Po has the ability to attack and race by himself, but also has a very fast sprint. This combination gives him chances to beat the European professionals, which he has done several times in the past. He will also have the great motivation to race in this great event in his hometown.


Everything is possible but one thing is for sure; we will see great cycling sports at January 4 in Hong Kong.





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