In 2010, the Tour of Chongming Island stage race doubled up with the fifth round of the UCI Women’s World Cup, also held in Chongming. The formula worked well, and the “partner race” concept is now in its third successive year. 2012 sees the World Cup race start in Shanghai’s Pudong New Area for the first time.
Though last year’s Chongming Island World Cup also ventured off the island and over the Shanghai Yangtze Bridge, riders were turned around at Changxing Island; this time, the course is a point-to-point affair from Shanghai to Chongming. In order for this to be possible, race organisers are sending the race across two awe-inspiring monuments of civil infrastructure linking Pudong to China’s third-largest island.
After leaving Pudong’s Oriental Sport Center at 11:30 local time, riders will head east towards Shanghai Pudong International airport (PVG) and tackle the first intermediate sprint after 29.1 kilometres of racing. Shortly after, the course tacks NNW enroute to the Shanghai Yangtze tunnel. The peloton will enter the tunnel at 44.1km and emerge 8.4 kilometres later. A further 2.5 kilometres of riding will bring the group to the Shanghai Yangtze bridge.
At 70m elevation, the mid-point of the bridge will be approximately 18 times higher than any of the girls have ridden during their last five days on Chongming Island. This could be a decisive point for a breakaway, but the chance of success is slim; it’s only the halfway point, and (obviously) there’s a big downhill on the other side.
Leaving the bridge behind them, riders will track NW along the western side of Chongming Island before arriving at the last intermediate sprint at 91.1 kilometres. At this point, there’s less than 30 kilometres of flat roads all the way through to the finish area on Chongming Avenue. After rounding the last left-hand turn, riders will have several lanes at their disposal for the final dash to the finish line, 600 metres straight ahead.