Ji Cheng To Make Giro d’Italia History For China

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NAPLES, Italy, May 04, 2013 (AFP) – Argos-Shimano rider Ji Cheng is set to
make Giro d’Italia history on Saturday when he saddles up as the first Chinese
to take part in the epic race.

Ji made his Grand Tour debut at the Tour of Spain last year and his
participation at the Giro has attracted no less than eight journalists from
his homeland who will be covering his every move.

Although having modest personal ambitions, Ji is hoping his endeavours as
part of Argos’s nine-man team help garner a win for their top sprinter, John
Degenkolb.

“I am really proud to be the first Chinese rider to start the Giro,” said
Ji.

“China will be following my participation and it is great to see that my
team and I are known already in my home country and that we can bring
attention to the sport of cycling.”

Degenkolb is one of several sprinters who will be looking to mix it up with
the likes of Britain’s Mark Cavendish, a 23-time stage winner on the Tour de
France who also has 10 Giro stage wins since his race debut in 2008.

For the first time in 10 years the three-week race begins with a road stage
instead of a time trial or a prologue and Cavendish will pull on the race
leader’s pink jersey if he wins Saturday’s opening salvo over 130 kilometers.

Ji hopes Argos’s efforts at a recent training camp in Spain, as well as
their participation in the Tour of Turkey last week where Argos helped German
Marcel Kittel to three stage wins, will make them competitive.

“It will be a tough race but we have had a very good preparation with the
training camp at our training base in Altea, (Spain) and the Tour of Turkey
last week,” added Ji.

“I would be very satisfied after three weeks if we won a stage and I
complete the race.”

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