A slight revision to the route for this year’s race means a hillier profile to this year’s race – though, once again, there will be no time trial.
Won in the first two years by Tony Martin, last year’s race was instead decided on Miaofeng Mountain, where Benat Intxausti (Movistar) won to claim top spot in the WorldTour rankings for the Spanish team.
Miaofeng Mountain will be pivotal again this time out, with stage four finishing atop the 12.6-kilometre, category one ascent.
With average gradients at more than five per cent, the climb saw the likes of then world champion Rui Costa and in-form Dan Martin going wheel-to-wheel before Intxausti blasted to victory.
This time out, however, the climb will be preceded by two further climbs, alongside the 7.7km rise to Xian Ren Dong village, with an average gradient just shy of six per cent, and the category-one ascent to Gao Ya Kou (3.5km at 7.1 per cent) which featured last year.
Prior to then, however, the race will already have tackled an undulating stage from Chongli to Zhangjiakou, which features three categorised climbs in the first 65km before the final 100 kilometres end with a long descent to the finish.
Stage two, meanwhile, is a repeat of last year’s stage ending in Yanqing, where Nacer Bouhanni was victorious last time out.
Stage three, from Yanqing to Qiandiajian, also returns after Bouhanni doubled up in the shadow of the Ciao Young Temple 12 months ago.
Though the stage features no less than seven categorised climbs, including the category one Si Hai ascent, if the sprint teams can keep the day’s break in check it is one on which the fast men can prosper.
After the pivotal climb of Miaofeng Mountain on Monday, the race the concludes with a circuit of Beijing’s Sport City on Tuesday, starting in Tiananmen square and passing the Bird’s Nest 12 times, before the race, and season, finishes in front of the Olympic Stadium.
Last year’s race saw the retiring Juan Antonio Flecha and Marco Pinotti enjoy one final break, before Luka Mezgec won from the bunch sprint, so keep an eye on any seasoned veterans with one final point to prove again this year.