Kiwi James Oram finished ninth after making it into the break of the day on a punishing opening stage of the Tour of Tuayian in China.
The 199-kilometre mountainous route was billed as one for the general classification contenders with three categorised climbs to contend with for the peloton. It wasn’t long before the attacks began as 22 riders went down the road in the first hour of racing, with Oram present in the move alongside a host of general classification hopefuls.
The escapees opened up a maximum advantage of nine minutes on a chasing bunch that had been reduced to around 40 riders over the opening climbs of the day. The gap between the two groups began to fall inside 80-kilometres to go and attacks at the head of the race soon followed, with Oram working hard to cover the moves.
Eventually two riders managed to break with the duo coming into the closing kilometres together to contest the finish. Cameron Piper (Illuminate) then attacked his fellow escapee to take the win solo, while Oram took ninth from a small chase group 4:34 down on the winner.
“As I said yesterday, it became a brutal race of attrition all day today. 205-kilometres and 3600-metres of never-ending climbing blew the race to bits.”
“I was fortunate enough to make the front split early in the race, with a healthy advantage heading in to the climbs. Only a couple of riders from the peloton were strong enough to ride across in the later stages of the race.”
“On the hors catégorie climb, and then in the final uncategorised climb which should have been another hors catégorie climb, the front of the race blew to bits. With the time gaps for GC now rather large, it should be a fairly controlled race for the podium, however the rest of the top 10 will be hotly contested with smaller gaps. There will be plenty of tired bodies tomorrow, which could flip the race on its head if people aren’t prepared.”
James Victor (Sports Director):
“It was a predictable day of attrition with race conditions contributing to a tough stage one course. The average speed is testament to how much the wind played a factor in destroying the peloton by the end of the stage.
Oram had a long day in the breakaway and was with the lead group for most of the climbing sectors. A lot of aggressive racing in the final 30-kilometres still created some big time gaps. So there will be some tired legs already going into stage two and maybe some more changes in the overall through an expected tough week.”
Tour of Taiyuan – Stage 1 Results:
1. Cameron Piper (Team Illuminate) 5:49:59
2. Luca Raggio (Neri Sottoli – Selle Italia – KTM) +1:23
9. James Oram (Mitchelton – BikeExchange) +4:34
Tour of Taiyuan – General Classification After Stage 1:
1. Cameron Piper (Team Illuminate) 5:49:47
2. Luca Raggio (Neri Sottoli – Selle Italia – KTM) +1:26
9. James Oram (Mitchelton – BikeExchange) +4:46