Stage one of the Tour of China II stage one saw Mitchelton-BikeExchange’s highest finisher, Nazhaerbieken Bieken, sprint in to 46th place after a lumpy 141km stage.
The stage victory went to Marco Benfatto in Jianghua following a hard race with 55km of windy country roads before reaching the final six finishing laps of an 11.5kilometre circuit. The first part of the race saw the peloton strung out with twisty roads but with the road conditions and the terrain, no breakaway was able to form in the first half of the stage.
After the first mountain was complete and the roads flattened, attacks started going off and a lead group of 15riders were given freedom to breakaway.
At the first intermediate sprint, Tour of China I polka dot winner Zheng Zhang (Hengxiang Cycling Team). attacked away and the break of the day was finally established when Vasili Strokau (Minsk Cycling Club) and Logan Shtein (Vino – Astana Motors) managed to escape from the lead group and built a two-minute time gap, who scooped up intermediate sprint #2 and #3 along the way.
Attacks came from the breakaway but heading into the closing lap, the group was caught and the race was on for a bunch sprint. Bardiani CSF organized the first sprint train but it was Benfatto who took the stage win.
“Today’s stage featured roads more like European roads than what we would normally expect in China. It’s good ride by Liu and Bieken, both finished the race in the front group. Hao, Bi and Niu were caught out today and I think the stage will be a good learning experience.”
Tour of China 2: Stage 1 Results:
1. Marco Benfatto (ANS) 3:13:53
2. Youcef Reguigui (Terengganu Cycling Team) ST
3. Nicolas Marini(Qinghai Tianyoude Hotel) ST
46. Nazhaerbieken Bieken (Mitchelton-BikeExchange) ST
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