One of the highlights of summer for my family is watching Le Tour. It’s the only regular sports watching we do. World Cup? Texans football? Just tell us what happened…
For some reason, we have no problem watching a horde of guys ride their bikes for three straight hours. (This year we are trying to catch up after being away on vacation for the first week…so make that six hours.)
But we’re not alone. The Tour de France draws over 12 million spectators over this amazing three week race of endurance and skill, the most spectators of any sporting event!
I included cycling and Chinese cultural references in my novel, The Red String. So I thought I’d write a blog post showcasing the first ever Chinese rider of the Tour de France, Ji Cheng, whose nickname is “the breakaway killer.”
(Don’t worry, in cycling terms, that’s a great nickname!)
Ji (family name) Cheng (first name) is 26 years old, though his birthday is over the Tour, on July 15. He rides for the Giant-Shimano team, whose team leader is Marcel Kittel, a multiple stage-winning sprinter from Germany. (I like to call him “Vanilla Ice”).
Ji Cheng started out as a runner, changed to indoor track cycling to escape the cold weather in his hometown, and then began road racing. He has been a professional cyclist since 2006.
The latest Tour stats list him in second-to-last place, but the Tour de France is a greuling athletic endeavor that has already said goodbye to many fan favorites, including last year’s winner, Chris Froome. Ji is realistic about this year’s Tour, saying,
I hope he has a great experience and returns again and again.
(wish you success)!
Here is a great article about Ji Cheng…