2021 National Games of China
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Pang Yao (third) has blood seeping from her leg after a crash in the women's team time trial at the 2021 National Games. Photo: Handout

Hong Kong riders finish empty handed in men’s and women’s team time trial at National Games

  • Men’s team finishes sixth while women’s come last out of 13 teams after crash
  • Hong Kong wil now focus on the two remaining individual road races to save their campaign

Hong Kong riders will turn their attention on the individual road race events on Sunday after failing to win medals in what has so far been a disappointing campaign on Saturday.

On Saturday, both the men’s and women’s time trial teams on the road came shy of finishing on the podium. The men’s managed sixth place out of 13 teams in their 100km race while the women’s came last from 13 teams in their 50km race.

Hong Kong has so far won one gold and two bronze cycling medals in Shaanxi, compared to two gold, three silver and two bronze in the Tianjin Games four years ago.

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“We missed two key riders [who quit the team] early this year and this greatly affected our team,” said Cycling Association chief Leung Hung-tak. “The men’s team trial result was not too far away from winning a bronze medal and had it not been the withdrawal of the two riders, we should have been able to have challenged for a medal. The women’s team result was a bit disappointing as they were hit by a crash midway through the race. Hopefully they can improve in the individual event.”

Leung Chun-wing leads the Hong Kong men's time trial team in the 2021 National Games. Photo: Handout

Olympian Cheung King-lok, who won a silver medal in the individual time trial at the 2017 Tianjin Games and Fung Ka-hoo, a 2018 Asian Games representative, quit the Hong Kong team in March citing differences with their coaches in the training programmes.

Without the two key riders, the six-member men’s team finished the race in one hour 55 minutes and 46 seconds while Shanghai clocked 1:55:03 to take bronze. Heilongjiang won gold in 1:53:10 while the second place went to Shandong in 1:53:53. The four-member women’s team finished the race in 1:09:01 while Liaoning won the race in 1:01:46.

Hong Kong finished sixth in the men's team time trial at the 2021 National Games. Photo: Cycling Association

“We have a mixed team of young and experienced riders and some of them have vast international exposure which may give them the edge in the individual road race,” said the chief. “But the standard of the mainland riders have improved tremendously and our riders face a tough job. Our women’s team is quite strong indeed but they failed to perform in the time trial. They must make amends in the individual race.”

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All riders must recover quickly as they will have to start in the individual race on Sunday. The men’s road race covers a gruelling 191 kilometres in Shangluo, a two-hour drive to the southeast of Xian. Leung Chun-wing, who is always reliable on a flat course, winning a bronze medal at the 2014 Asian Games, will lead the medal assault, along with Ko Siu-wai, Choy Hiu-fung, Burr Ho, Miu Ching-yin and Lau Wan-yau.

Marathon runner Christy Yiu aims to make amends at the 2021 National Games. Photo: Chan Kin-wa

The women’s individual road race will cover a distance of 128 kilometres. Hong Kong will be headed by Yang Qianyu, the 2017 Asian champion, along with up-and-coming Lee Sze-wing, the 2019 junior Asian champion, Pang Yao, Phoebe Tung and Leung Po-yee and her younger sister Leung Wing-yee.

Meanwhile, the marathon will also start on Sunday with Christy Yiu Kit-ching aiming to reach the Tokyo Olympic qualifying mark of two hours 29 minutes and 30 seconds which she failed to make it with only two races allowed throughout the qualification period. Hong Kong will be represented by Wong Wan-chun in the men’s.