Stage eight of the Tour of Qinghai Lake saw another general classification battle with Colombian Brayan Chaves ending the day as the top finisher for Mitchelton-BikeExchange.
The eighth day of racing saw the peloton return to the mountains for another brutal stage at altitude, with the 224-kilometre route also by far the longest stage of the tour and both factors took their toll on a tiring bunch.
In the end it was the category-one climb that topped out with 20-kilometres remaining caused the damage, with the race blowing apart on the slopes. The stage had earlier got underway in torrential rain and a breakaway group of nine riders eventually edged clear after 40-kilometres.
But it was the climb of the day that made its mark on the race with Chaves battling the elements the best to finish 2’40” behind stage winner Alex Molenaar (Monkey Town – à Bloc CT) and moved back into the top-20.
Andrew Smith (Sports Director):
“Today was 224-kilometres in pouring rain and three degrees over the final summit. Chaves has moved back into top-20 and we’ve extended our lead in the Best Asian Team Classification and consolidated the podium positions in second and third in the Individual Asian standings.
“We’re also up to fourth in General Team Classification. It was a good ride by the whole team and especially impressive from Liu and Jiang. Hao Ran is learning about himself and so are most. Bieken was borderline hypothermia but he’s okay, they all seem good.”
Tour of Qinghai Lake Stage 8 Results:
1. Alex Molenaar (Monkey Town – à Bloc CT) 5:07:37
2. Branislau Samoilau (Minsk Cycling Club) +1:38
24. Brayan Chaves (Mitchelton-BikeExchange) +2:40
General Classification After Stage 8:
1, Robinson Sharap (Medllin) 23:02:58
2, Oscar Sevilla (Medllin) +1:44
3. Benjamin Dyball (Team Sapura Cycling) +2:37
20. Brayan Chaves (Mitchelton-BikeExchange) +8:33