The country's top cycling boss has denied reports that four Chinese men's
riders have already qualified for the Beijing Olympics.
China Cycling Association Secretary-general Jiang Guofeng confirmed that Wong
Kam Po had followed Li Fuyu's ProTour qualification, but stressed others
mentioned in various dispatches still had more work to do.
"I saw the reports saying three Chinese cyclists have gained enough points
from the 2007 UCI World Class-B Championships last month and Li Fuyu of
Discovery Channel also won a spot of the Beijing Olympics," Jiang told China
Daily. "Actually it was not all right."
Reports have been rife that Li, the only Chinese member of a top professional
team, became the first to qualify for the Olympic road race by finishing fourth
with his Discovery Channel in the ProTour Team Time Trial in Eindhoven of the
Netherlands last month. Ma Haijun, Song Baoqing and Hong Kong cyclist Wong Kam
Po had reportedly followed suit at the World Class-B Championships in South
Africa early this month.
Jiang revealed that Wong did have secured an Olympic road race berth after
finishing fourth in the South African equivalent while Li also have unofficially
But he advised that Ma and Song still have a struggle ahead because the
individual time trials in Africa, where Ma won gold and Song finished fourth,
were not International Cycling Union (UCI) endorsed qualifiers.
"Only Wong's result is recognized as his event is the Olympic qualifying
competition," Jiang confirmed. "Ma and Song still need other ways to advance
into the Olympic Games."
The cycling supremo expressed his pleasure with the progress made recently by
Chinese riders while explaining qualification requirements during last week's
sixth annual Tour of Qinghai Lake,
Ma emerged clad in the blue jersey as Asia's best rider during the 1,400km
nine-stage event, finishing 19th overall after a grueling four months at the UCI
World Cycling Center in Switzerland.
The benefits of that experience were patent in his dramatic improvement from
last year, when he finished 30th overall at the corresponding event.
Li clinched five from a possible nine blue jerseys before surrendering the
coveted shirt to Ma in the final two stages.
Li finished 21st to register the best individual result for his feted ProTour
"Some of the key national riders are riding very well and have showed
impressive performances after they have gained experienced in pro teams or
overseas training and competitions," Jiang noted.
"Considering the overall level is higher than last year's race, with the
participation of one ProTour team and seven continental pro teams, I am
confident Chinese riders have the potential."