Cheng Ji to become China's first Tour de France rider

Cheng Ji announced as part of Giant-Shimano's nine-man line-up for the 2014 Tour de France

Ji Cheng on stage one of the 2014 Dubai Tour
(Image credit: Graham Watson)

After doing so in the Giro d'Italia and Vuelta a España, Cheng Ji will become China's first participant in the Tour de France when the race starts in Yorkshire on July 5.

Ji will help team Giant-Shimano's sprinter Marcel Kittel and John Degenkolb.

"Having Cheng in the team will be huge for him and his country," said team coach, Rudi Kemna, "and we look forward to seeing the impact this has on the globalisation of the sport."

"The Chinese are the same as the Europeans," Ji told Cycling Weekly last year. "I'm that example, if you have a good programme, you can improve and make it to the top level."

2014 Tour de France start list

Full rosters for all of the 2014 Tour de France teams, with race numbers

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