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Short opening stage concludes in expected bunch sprint at the Tour of Hainan

Sat 28 Oct 2017

The 12th edition of the Tour of Hainan got underway in Wanning for Mitchelton-SCOTT this morning with a short and fast 88.3kilometre first stage that predictably ended in a tight bunch sprint.

With attacks coming directly from the flag drop and continuing throughout the stage there came no respite and a high, frantic pace was maintained.

Numerous small groups went clear only to gain a few seconds advantage before the peloton brought them back with the bigger sprinters teams controlling the charge.

As the race hit the final three kilometres it was all back together with a compact group battling for position into the home straight, Jon Aberasturi (Team-UKYO) got the early jump and took the stage victory from the bunch sprint, just ahead of riders from Willier-Selle-Italia and IsoWhey-Sports.

Australian’s Robert Stannard and Jai Hindley were the team’s best finishers in 43rd and 46th place respectively.

“We had both Jai and Rob off the front with a group over the only categorised climb with around 13kilometres to go,” said sport director Neil Stephens. “But as with all of the moves today, it was brought back by the bunch.

“Rob clipped off the front again ahead of the finale with a rider from Bardiani-CSF, but they were also caught and we weren’t up there at the sharp end of the sprint.

“It was a super fast, explosive start today and tomorrow’s stage is much longer at 230kilometres with a bit more of a rolling parcours before another flat final. It’s hot and there’s a strong chance of crosswinds, but we will still probably be looking at another sprint.

“It suits us to have it together for the first few days, allows us to settle and look ahead to the later stages and the climbing days where we will be looking to be more on the front foot.”

Tour of Hainan stage one results:

1. Jon Aberasturi (Team-UKYO) 01:50:50

2. Jakub Mareczko (Willier-Selle-Italia) ST

3. Michael Freiberg (IsoWhey-Sports) ST

43. Robert Stannard (Mitchelton-SCOTT) ST

Photos courtesy of News.cn

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