This is what we call the icing on the cake. There’s the same whipped cream on top! The snow-covered mountain of the Jade Dragon is the symbol of Granfondo Yunnan. This is the stage for climbers, generous and offensive cyclists. Story of the 7th and last stage of the Granfondo Yunnan 2019. 

Lijiang, a major tourist attraction

The city of Lijiang culminates at an altitude of more than 2000 metres. It’s a postcard decor. The passage is mandatory if you come to visit the Yunnan region. The day after the event, I spent a day in the peaceful streets of the old town. Officially on the UNESCO World Cultural Heritage List, I feel like I’m in another era. I’m showing you around.

Thank you to the tea seller who offered me the drink and offered to come to the roof of his house to have a unique view of his city;

November is the quietest time to visit LiJiang.


Shopping, eating at open canteens,

dancer animation old city lijiang

See dance performances,

rue de la vielle ville de lijiang

Strolling through the streets

water wheel in lijiang

And posing in front of the water mill are rituals;

At the attack on Jade Dragon Mountain

lijiang the snowy top of the jade dragon granfondo yunnan

Housed in room 1209 of the Guanfang Hotel, Elijus and myself before a view as magnetic towards the summit. This day before the race, we are between the excitement of leaving again and the little melancholy that tomorrow is the end. We have an objective to confirm. Stand on the second step of the team podium and give the best

7th in 2017, 8th in 2018, the stage qualified “The Sky Ride” has been a success for me for 2 years. This high mountain course requires strength, boldness, and a certain ability to tolerate lack of oxygen.

departure from lijiang du granfondoyunnan

You have to like the cold. If this edition is exceptional with a temperature close to 10 degrees at the beginning, the previous editions were below 5 degrees. 

nicolas raybaud granfondo Yunnan specialized

The first kilometre is neutralized. I am the attacker of the first minute. From experience, Boldness can pay off in the last days. I manage to get a 1-minute lead but as I approach the first Dragon Hill Pass. I’m being taken back;

cyclist mounted in lijiang nicolas raybaud yunnan

I take the opportunity to lead with strength the ascent that will follow. There are about twenty of us. The running pace is faster than last year.

dragon hill peloton granfondoyunnan

Under the rhythm of China’s best climber, Li Yu Heng, he makes me exceed my anaerobic limits.  I’m starting to answer. With lucidity, I manage my break of the race head in favour of the long descent and technique that is coming;

nicolas raybaud specialized granfondo yunnan

On the descent, I start my comeback ahead. The operation is not free of charge.

I feel like I’m doing Julian Alaphilippe’s fantastic descent into the Galibier pass again.

In the descent, there are falls. You have to be careful. I am confident about my new S-Works Turbo RapidAir. 

The last ascent

We find ourselves at the foot of the majesty of Lijiang. I will not be the king of the 33 km ascent but I intend to save more time. I will wait 30 minutes before accelerating, accompanied by a Kunming runner and a Chinese triathlete,  Duan Jin Tao. The latter will be stronger. I find myself alone in a time trial. I will take over a runner from Mongolia with whom I collaborate. The latter dropped a few kilometers  from the finish.

nicolas raybaud finisher

<I’m throwing my last forces to cross the line.


My friend Stefano Dall’Aglio and Kris congratulate me. I am again finisher by achieving such a great performance on my raw data again. I am 18th in 3h33. The ranking shows the increase in the level of riders this year;

La Vedett !

A nice idea. Vedett partner of the granfondo Yunnan offers beer as soon as you cross the line. Be careful, it makes your head turn after so much effort;

podium team of the granfondo yunnan

The ceremony takes place in Lijiang. Our team is rewarded for its performance. I am happy to have convinced my Lithuanian friends to come,  Glen Bull from Qatar and invited Benoit Rivals to shine La Ronde Tahitienne. 


elijus civilis yunnan lithuanien

Elijus Civilis was our leader ranked 8th overall. Marius (14), Martynas (16), myself (17) and Glen (19). Our team was strong and consistent.

coca cola specialized

A toast to our leader’s favorite drink.

OPos总名次 No编号 Share
Name姓名 Time大会时间 Bonus奬勵時間 Category组别 CPos组别名次 Time Behind時間差 GPos性别名次 Team Name队名 Country/Region国家/地区
1 1
Myagmarsuren Basaankhuu 17:23:49 -00:00:45 Male Open 男子公开组 1   1 Team UGLOW MGL
2 351
李玉恒 Li Yu Heng 17:32:02 -00:00:09 Male Open 男子公开组 2 00:08:13 2 昆明自行车队 CHN
3 84
Josh Bauer 17:38:37 -00:00:45 Male Open 男子公开组 3 00:14:48 3 RideNow Race Team USA
8 131
Elijus Civilis 18:05:03 -00:00:09 Male Open 男子公开组 8 00:41:13 8 Team Allons Rouler LTU
14 133
Marius Ratkevicius 18:20:34   Male Open 男子公开组 14 00:56:44 14 Team Allons Rouler LTU
16 132
Tamulis Martynas 18:27:48   Male Open 男子公开组 16 01:03:58 16 Team Allons Rouler LTU
17 130
Nicolas Raybaud 18:30:13   Male Open 男子公开组 17 01:06:23 17 Team Allons Rouler FRA
19 129
Glenn Bull 18:36:10   Male Open 男子公开组 18 01:12:20 19 Team Allons Rouler AUS

My results on the Granfondo Yunnan 2019

  • MangShi Prologue : 24th in 15’56”
  • Ruili: 44th in 2:29:30
  • YingJiang: 29th in 3:16:09
  • TengChong: 22nd in 5:59:53
  • Dali: 20th in 2:55:15
  • Lijiang: 18th in 3:33:28

To conclude

Since 2012, I have fallen in admiration for Asia. From Thailand, through Taiwan, Mongolia and Yunnan, I come back every year with new ambitions. I never get tired of travelling;

I forget everything I think I know and take a fresh look at everything. I remain eternally amazed.

The granfondo Yunnan has nothing to envy to the western cyclosportives. In my opinion, this is the very definition of cycling for all, accessible both for the price and the varieties of the routes.

guangfang hotel à lijiang

One of the strong points of this event is the organization and investment of local administrations and the population. Eyes up on the facade of the Guanfang Hotel to see the promotional video of the granfondo yunnan. It’s Time Square in the middle of Lijiang. We are evolving from roads totally reserved for cyclists with hand-given supplies during the stages.  

granfondo yunnan voluntary supply

From November 7 to 14, 2020, if you wish to join me on the Granfondo Yunnan, it is with pleasure that I will guide you.

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