YingJiang welcomes Granfondo Yunnan for the first time. Like MangShi and Ruili, the city is under the jurisdiction of the autonomous Dai and Jingpo prefecture of Dehong. This new stage honoured its promise with a long and steep finish on the Daonong Pass. I put on my Air Tahiti Nui outfit for this occasion. I promised to cross the line with my friend Benoit Rivals. Take a seat on the line, I’ll take you to the 3rd stage of Granfondo Yunnan. 
nicolas raybaud signe le mur protocolaire avec air tahiti nui

YingJiang surprise!

This morning, after a bowl of noodle and meat, I am light and awake. I will sign the wall of the best riders in the event and take my place on the starting line.

Erdenebat Bilguunjargal et nicolas raybaud
The start is fast and the Kunming riders are already on the offensive on this first false flat climb. I climbed up quite easily before getting caught in the wheel of my friend Bilguunjargal Edernebat. He drives a strong train, which confirms to me the good legs of the morning. I am now the head of a small squad as the first surprise approaches.

After 20 km, the curve turns to the left and a wall of dusty paving stones rises in front of us. I stay anchored on the saddle and hooked to the handlebars to avoid slipping and remain effective. We are a wrist to detach in this hell. To spice up the ascent, a bonus sprint is planted in the middle of the climb.  

The descent is abrupt on a sanded concrete pavement. We are not afraid of anything. The trajectories are tense and fast. I stay with my hands down on the handlebars. My new Tubeless S-Works Turbo RapidAir are incredible in curves and especially on cobblestones.

We arrive along the long YingJiang River to ride comfortably before Daonong Pass. To see below in video. 

On this transition, my partner Elijus Civilis will run away with Bilguun. 

nicolas raybaud dans le col du daonong
The Daonong Pass is approaching. I’m in the wrong place and the climb starts in high percentages. I’m already too far back in the leaders’ dance. Big mistake. I manage a fast climb to let go as little time as possible.

Alone, I do the work and make a nice climb. 

Under tropical heat, the atmosphere is warm and the irregular slope offers many new opportunities that I would not mind. 

col du daonong

The finish is located in Tongbiguan on a false flat descending. I finish 20th of the stage. I am very satisfied with my feelings but with a touch of regret for this placement error. The queen stage of TengChong will put things back in order. 

As promised, when Benoit’s arrival is announced, I will join him with the Tahiti banner to congratulate him.

benoit rivals de la ronde tahitienne avec Nicolas Raybaud
A crowd of people singing and dancing greet the finishers of the stage. The atmosphere is lively. 

animation place de l'arrivée du granfondo yunnan

In the middle of the square, I will join Kris (race director) to give him my appreciation of the stage.
ravitaillement d'arrivée du granfondo yunnan

On the outskirts, cyclists eat good Chinese food provided by these ephemeral canteens. 
lac au sommet du col du daonong

The day before, I had observed a lake near the finish. My tourist side will attract my attention to the magnificent Kaibangna Lake.
danseurs du granfondo yunnan

The party is over. We go back down by bus to YingJiang to finish the evening with a good glass of wine, before the rest day that will take us to TengChong. 

Useful links

  • Pictures of the stage on www.biketo.com
  • The official website www.granfondoyunnan.com