Ever since the beginning of the Genghis Khan MTB Adventure back in 2007, the first stage of the race has taken participants to the hills Siriguleng and Halagatu, named after the Mongol emperor’s missing horses. It is the classic stage of the 3-day long weekend with start at the Nadamu Arena and finish in Xiwuqi’s biggest square after 62km.
The course of the classic stage has seen little changing over these past six years. The grassland scenery is amazing, the hills rolling and not too steep, and there’s enough distance to give everyone a great sense of achievement and satisfaction upon reaching the finish line. In fact, since last year the race no longer ends at the Yurt camp but back in town at Culture Square. New this year are the final 6km, which have been re-designed in order not to overlap with the concluding kilometers of stage 3. This new section has significance for those riders aiming for top placings. The tracks are narrow and more technical than before and should there be still a group together proper placement will be necessary. The final downhill at 2km before the finish has some soft earth patches that can decide victory, especially if it were to be wet on the day.
History suggests that the winner of the first stage has a strong chance to also end up as the overall winner of the Genghis Khan MTB Adventure on Sunday afternoon. Out of six editions, this is what happened four times with France’s Martin Breuvart in 2007-2008, Wang Lei in 2010 and Altansukh Altanzul last year. Wang Lei also took the stage in 2011, but got outmanoevred by his own teammate Feng Kuangao a day later, while Denmark’s Kasper Nielsen had his day of glory in 2009.
Big favourite for this year must be Mongolia’s Tuguldur Tuulkhangai. After winning stages 2 and 3 last year, it is the only stage that has eluded him so far. A year ago he was in the leading group when a mechanical problem dropped him back and out of contention. However, Tuulkhangai will have to deal with strong opposition next weekend, as will be outlined in detail in our MTB race preview early next week!
2007-2008: Martin Breuvart beats Darren Benson into second on stage 1.
2009: Kasper Nielsen kept Team Holy Brother behind him to claim the Classic Stage
2010-2011: China’s Wang Lei was fastest for two years in a row
2012 – A royal sprint sees Altansukh Altanzul beat Feng Kuanjie and Wang Lei