I am lucky enough to find myself one of the official race photographers at this year’s Tour of Beijing. To match my style of photography, my job is not necessarily to shoot the race, but to shoot the race in China and to show off what the Chinese cycling culture is like, both for work and pleasure, and to then put it in contrast to the visiting professional scene.
Today I accompanied Serk’s Shannon Bufton around Beijing, an expat who has started a cafe and bar where local hipsters, both expats and Chinese locals, hang out to check in with the scene. Together we pedaled around Beijing so I could see some local characters, from a phenomenally successful young entrepreneur who encourages all his staff of 1000 to pedal to work, to a longtime bike mechanic to a young girl who has started the Chinese Andy Schleck Fan Club.
And not to forget, there is a major Pro Tour race happening as well. Andy Schleck made it clear he is here to get some fitness while Samuel Sanchez made his intentions known of having a big result. Defending Champ Tony Martin feels that without a time trial, his chances are not ideal given the race profile.
Tomorrow the race starts with a circuit in Beijing. The start wil be in Tiananmen Square with the finish at the Olympic Bird’s Nest Stadium. I’ll be on a motorbike every day to stay mobile in my hunt for visual goodies.