Kiwi James Oram grabbed 13th on stage three of the Tour of Taiyuan to hold on to his top-10 placing on the general classification.
The new signing for 2019 crossed the line one position ahead of teammate Yikui Niu as the sprinter’s battled it out for the stage victory. Oram has now moved into eighth in the overall standings after finishing ahead of two riders in front of him on the GC before start of the day.
The stage itself was another hilly one, as the peloton took on three laps of a 27.8-kilometre circuit for the shortest stage of the race. With a fast, downhill run to the finish it looked to be one for the fast men that could get over the lumpy stuff, and so it proved with the bunch reeling in an eight-rider breakaway in time to contest the finish, with Martin Laas (Team Illuminate) taking his second stage win.
“It’s not the result we wanted in the final sprint on paper, but it was a really good ride by the whole team again. This is only our second race of the year, so with a bit more work, Niu and I can nail a result in one of these sprints. Sometimes you need a bit of luck. Hao, Bi and Liu were instrumental in the final lap for helping bring the breakaway back, which was great to see.”
“As for the GC, it will be great if I can have another chance to go into the breakaway and collect some bonus seconds, that would be ideal to separate me from the other riders on the same time. Today looked good for that on paper, but the climb itself was too fast. Tomorrow is another short stage, which could work in the breakaways favour. But with the uphill sprint to the line, I’d also fancy my chances in a sprint.”
“It was a very fast stage today and the climb was only around 2%. There was a small breakaway group, with a steady pace in the peloton. In the final lap it was clear that the race will finish in a bunch sprint and our plan was to have Oram doing lead out for me, and also, he needs a high rank in the stage since he is at the same time with several other riders on the GC.
“In the sprint it seemed every team had a sprinter but none of them could organise a proper lead out train. I was boxed in again and couldn’t go into the top-10. I’m quite disappointed by the result and I hope we can have more chances to work out the sprint tactics in the coming stages.”
Tour of Taiyuan – Stage 3 Results:
1. Martin Laas (Team Illuminate) 2:59:50
2. Georgios Bouglas (Ningxia Sports Lottery – Livall Cycling Team) ST
13. James Oram (Mitchelton – BikeExchange) ST
Tour of Taiyuan – General Classification After Stage 3:
1. Cameron Piper (Team Illuminate) 5:49:47
2. Luca Raggio (Neri Sottoli – Selle Italia – KTM) +1:26
8. James Oram (Mitchelton – BikeExchange) +4:46