China: Tour of Guangxi 2017

Beihai, Tour of Guangxi, stage one. We are in the far south of the People’s Republic of China, close to the Vietnam border. The Gulf of Tonkin is still scorching hot in October. In stark contrast to the previous day, the streets are almost clear of traffic on our way to the start area. It turns out the organization has shut down the whole city for today’s bike race. Maximum security is enforced with hundreds of police officers, military forces and volunteers standing guard along the full length of the course, keeping spectators at a safe distance from the cycling circus. Behind the guarded barriers thousands of fans cheer as much for the western media entourage as for the riders. Their excitement feels genuine, but very different from what we are used to in Europe. Here, no one can tell one rider from the other. There are no flags waving, no one dressed up in team kits, and no one shouting out names outside team buses. But in a way, it’s refreshing to see this unassuming enthusiasm. Thousands of new eyes are looking onto our crazy spectacle, and God knows what they make of it. If only we could speak to each other…

Online gallery @Soigneur over here:

Full set of images just one click away, just here! Enjoy! And 谢谢

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