Both sides male and female yellow jerseys Myagmarsuren Baasaankhuu and Solongo Tserenlham underlined their dominance at this year's Granfondo Yunnan with a superb stage win at 3060m on the slopes of Jade Dragon Snow Mountain in Lijiang. It was the ideal conclusion of our 3rd edition, according to multiple long-time participants the best ever.
Also the final stage was held in beautiful sunny conditions and the brand new Lijiang race course, with its new initial climb shortly after the start, was proven to be a great novelty. Of course, the 3 km long climb split up the field entirely and roughly 15 riders made up the first group at the top. Hot contenders such as Li Ni actually already got dropped, but would come back after the descent. In the descent, Russia's Evgenii Vitmanovski tried to get away with risky but successful manoevres. He took a few seconds, but realised that going solo with 90k left to go had little point.
Tegshbayar Batsaikhan, the 18-year-old Mongolian junior world champion in the points race on the track, was the next to set up a breakaway attempt. Initially, a Chinese teammate of Jia Zhichao came along, buy Batsaikhan, aka Tegshee, was simply too powerful and too skilled in the descents. The new Lijiang course offered a bit of a rollercoaster in between the two longer climbs, and that suited Teghsee perfectly. Unfortunately for him, wind was blowing strongly as well, eliminating any realistic chances for a solo victory so far out from the finish. To Tegshee's credit, once he realised some contenders were coming back, he sat up without wasting any further energy. This decision resulted later in Tegshee still sprinting for the podium on top of the Jade Dragon Snow Mountain. Approaching the final mountain climb first were five riders: Tegshee, Vitmanovskii, Tuulkhangai, Magana and yellow jersey Baasaankhuu.
The final climb is a tricky one as the road endlessly goes up in one big straight for the first kilometres. It took a while before there was any significant movement in the lead group. Miga in his yellow jersey set the pace mostly, until his Rion-teammate Nicolas Magana attacked from behind with about 4 km to go. Vitmanovskii replied straightaway and accelerated hard, forcing time trialist and heavier-built Tugulduur Tuulkhangai to grit his teeth together. It was all only a prelude, because when Miga dropped his bomb nobody had an answer. In fact, the 25-year-old Mongolian, who lives like a pro, made it again look easy. Quickly, Miga opened up a safe gap and cruised to his second consecutive victory on Jade Dragon Snow Mountain and in the Granfondo Yunnan overall. Clearly, Miga's form motivated the other Mongolian riders in different teams as Tuulkhangai and Batsaikhan sprinted it out for places two and three. Magana came in fourth, winning his age group, and the brave Vitmanovskii fifth.
For a long time, female yellow jersey Solongo Tserenlham had to accept the company of Nathalie Brooks and Kristine Kofman together with her, but on the Jade Dragon Snow Mountain, Tserenlham dotted the i and proved that she is the rightful winner of the women's competition.
Next year, the 4th edition of Granfondo Yunnan is scheduled for the same two weekends early November, and is projected to offer a few new stages and cities. In fact, instead of five there may even be six stages! Stay tuned to this site and our facebook and weixin channels for news on 2017!