Zhi Hui Jiang sprinted to a top-10 finish on a hot, flat and windy stage 11 of the Tour of Qinghai Lake.
The 25-year-old got amongst the fast men in the finale and crossed the line in 10th place, with the rest of his Mitchelton-BikeExchange teammates finishing safely in the peloton and crash affected day.
Chinese national champion Yikui Niu and Nazaerbieke Bieken were both caught up in a crash on the 153-kilometre route from to Minqin to the Tengger Desert, but the pair were able to get back going again.
There was a threat of crosswinds as the bunch travelled through the desert roads but the sprint teams made sure the race stayed together as Roy Eefting (Memil – CCN Pro Cycling) took the stage victory in the sprint for the line.
Zhi Hui Jiang:
“Only a few days after those cold mountain stages on high altitude, we have to face a totally different environment in the desert. Today was very hot and I believe that is a big challenge for most of the riders in the peloton.”
“I’m very happy to finish in the top-10 and that is the only top-10 result from a Chinese rider in this year’s Tour of Qinghai Lake. With two more stages to go I will keep trying in the sprints, but still the most important goal is the team classification and to make sure everyone finishes the race safely.”
Andrew Smith (Sports Director):
“It was a hot and windy day in the desert. The guys rode well and avoided most of the crashes. Bieken and Niu were involved in a crash but could re-enter the main peloton and are unharmed.”
“Again, we were hoping for a favourable situation to take advantage of the wind, but too many of the sprint teams wanted to keep it together and the wind didn’t really play along. It was blowing, but just not favourable to create split.”