Road races return as Hong Kong Cycling Association hints at schedule restart
- 137 starters from junior to veteran levels will compete in 15km individual time trial on Saturday, followed by mass start in Tin Shui Wai on Sunday
- No road race has taken place since January 2020 under the pandemic situation
The Hong Kong Cycling Association will restart its National Championships for the first time in more than two years on Saturday, as officials hint at a busier race schedule for the remainder of the year.
A total 137 riders ranging from youth to elite and veteran levels will take part in the 15km race in Tai Po which will start and finish at the junction of Bride’s Pool Road and Wu Kau Tang.
“We have been discussing with relevant government departments since the easing of the pandemic situation several months ago to obtain the road permit,” association chairman Leung Hung-tak said.
“The National Championships is the biggest domestic event on an annual basis but because of the pandemic we had to stop for two years. We hope things can gradually get back to normal with more races taking place later this year. Of course, the pandemic situation will still be crucial if this can happen or not.”
After Saturday’s time trial, the key 120km road race will start from Tin Shui Wai on Sunday as part of the championship schedule.
Leung said authorities did not ask for specific safety measures, but to stick to the prevailing precautions the community is following.
All participating parties including media must conduct a rapid antigen test on the event day, complying with the requirement under the vaccine pass, submission of a health declaration the day before and wearing health masks during the event, except for riders during the race.
The last time a road race event was held was January 2020 in Sunny Bay, Lantau with the Hong Kong Road Race Series 3, shortly before Covid-19 arrived in Hong Kong.
Since then all road races have been cancelled, including the two major events – the 2020 and 2021 National Championships, traditionally held at Tin Shui Wai and Bride’s Pool Road.
The association also intended to stage an international race later this year to celebrate the 25th anniversary of the SAR government but plans had been changed.
“We had plans for a multi-stage race across major cities of the Greater Bay Area in November, but because China still has tight safety measures in place, we do not think it will be possible – at least for this year,” Leung said.
“Also, Hong Kong still requires a seven day quarantine for overseas visitors, making it difficult to invite international riders as setting up a safety bubble for them will be too costly.
“We therefore want to stage another large scale race but targeting only domestic riders and the theme will still be celebration of the 25th anniversary of the SAR government. The race will take place in controlled-access Heung Yuen Wai highway in North District which will make less impact on the general traffic.
“If the pandemic situation improves, we can consider other options as it’s always our objective to provide competitions for the riders as many as possible.”
Meanwhile, Sarah Lee Wai-sze captured her second silver medal at the 2022 Japan Cup in Izu as she set sights on the track World Championships in Paris in October.
The Hong Kong rider reached the final with a second place in the heats but could only finish behind Mina Sato of the hosts in the six-lap race. Another Hong Kong rider, Yeung Cho-yiu came sixth.
Lee also won a sprint silver in the opening day at the same venue where the 2020 Tokyo Olympic velodrome took place. In the women’s omnium, 21-year-old Lee Sze-wing, the 2021 China National Games road race champion, managed a second place behind Tsuyaka Uchino of Japan.
The two-round Japan Cup, which will continue over the weekend, is a class I event under International Cycling Union which provides ranking points towards qualification of the World Championships.