Two of the top international racing teams from the UCI World circuit will compete for glory in the Hong Kong Cyclothon on Sunday and both have brought squads with a strong Asian presence.
Italian squad Lampre-Merida, formed in 2005, is led by general manager Giuseppe Saronni, who is a two-times overall Giro d’Italia winner with victories in 193 races in his career.
Lampre, which has claimed five stage wins in the Tour de France, will have two of the region’s finest cyclists competing in the International Criteria race.
Feng Chun-kai, the first Taiwanese rider to have joined a UCI World Team and one of the region’s top performers on road and track, has won the King of the Mountains title for the Tour de Taiwan for three consecutive years from 2012 but has also shown his ability on the track.
In 2011, Feng set a historic milestone in pro cycling as the first ever Asian rider to score three consecutive stage triumphs and grab the yellow jersey and a prestigious tournament title at the International Cycling Classic in the U.S. Midwest.
At the 2012 Asian Cycling Championships in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia, Feng won gold in the men’s elite 10 km scratch race. A year later he took gold medal at the East Asian Games in Tianjin.
Also on the Lampre-Merida roster is Shanghai-native, Xu Gang, who last year raced for the first time in the famous Giro d’Italia race, making him just the second Chinese rider to compete in the Italian event.
Slovenian Matej Mohoric turned professional in 2014 after he won the 2012 UCI World Junior Road Race Championships and the 2013 UCI World Under-23 Road Race Championships, to become the first rider to win those events in successive years. Earlier this year he finished second in the National Time Trial Championships in Australia.
The Australian-based Orica-BikeExchange team only joined the professional ranks in 2012 but have quickly established themselves among the elite with six stage wins in the Giro d’Italia and five in the Tour de France.
Orica-BikeExchange are sure to enjoy some backing from local fans given they have Hong Kong’s own Cheung King-lok on their squad. Cheung won both the Road Race and the Individual TIme Trial at the Asian Cycling Championships in Japan in January.
The local hero will be looking to make a strong impression for the thousands of fans who will be gathering to watch the two-times Hong Kong national time trial champion.
Beijing 2008 Olympic bronze medalist in Team Pursuit, Samuel Bewley of New Zealand, who also finished first in in the team time trial in stage one of the Giro d’Italia last year will also be racing for Orica-BikeExchange along with Australian Robert Power, who won the 2014, Oceania Cycling Championship U-23 road race.