The opening stage of the Tour of China 1 came down to a chaotic bunch sprint in Yodaokou Culture Square with Ran Hao the top finisher for Mitchelton-BikeExchange.
Stage one always looked set to be one for the sprinters and so it proved with a host of teams looking to set it up for a bunch kick to the line. Jiankun Liu managed to make it into the break of the day, but there was no chance of staying away as the sprint teams took control, with Hao eventually crossing the line in 34th place in a messy finale.
It was an unfortunate start to the race for the team as Kiwi James Oram was caught up in a crash on the first lap of the race and was forced to abandon after suffering a broken wrist. Attention now turns to tomorrow’s short seven-kilometre time trial.
“2019 is my first road racing season and the Tour of Qinghai Lake was the hardest road race I have ever done. After that race it took me nearly one month to recover and I can feel I’m coming back to my top form in the recent days. Today I still feel a bit nervous when I was trying to keep my position in the crosswind, finally I’m happy that I can finish the stage in the first half of the peloton. I hope I can get used to the tempo of the race soon and maybe try to go into the breakaway in the next stages.”
Tour of China 1 Stage 1 Results:
1. Marco Benfatto (Androni Giocattoli – Sidermec) 2:06:11
2. Roy Eefting (Memil – CCN Pro Cycling) ST
34. Ran Hao (Mitchelton-BikeExchange) ST