HOHHOT, China, Sept. 22 (Xinhua) -- A two-day international bicycle race with routes set around populus euphratica forest kicked off Thursday in the Alxa League of the Inner Mongolia Autonomous Region.
Categorized into professional and amateur groups, 501 cyclists from Canada, China, Kazakhstan, South Korea and Uzbekistan competed for awards worth 750,000 RMB (112,452 U.S. dollars) in total, with the champion winning 15,000 RMB (2,249 U.S. dollars).
On the first race day, 300 professional cyclists competed on a 100-kilometer route, with Zhao Jianyu from China winning first place at 2 hours 30 minutes and 57.156 seconds. The second place went to Hu Zhichao from China, who finished the race a mere 0.702-seconds behind Zhao.
What's more, 201 cyclists in the amateur group participated in a 58-kilometer race. The top three contestants all came from the city of Baotou in Inner Mongolia. Wang Bing, who won first place with 1 hour 34 minutes and 36 seconds, is followed by Wang Ruiping and Yang Li with slim margins.
Both routes take the contestants around the populus euphratica forest, an endangered species and a symbol of the local scenery in Ejina County of the Alxa League.
All the prizes will be presented after the second-day of races, including awards for the most dynamic cyclist and the best team. Additionally, contestants who finished the race within the time limit are each awarded 1,500 RMB (225 U.S. dollars).