Bieken fights hard up to summit finish on the penultimate stage in Hainan

Tue 30 Oct 2018

Nazaerbieke Bieken climbed strongly for Mitchelton-BikeExchange on stage eight of the Tour of Hainan today to finish close to the leading riders and move up the general classification ahead of tomorrow’s final stage.

Billed as the ‘Queen Stage’, todays eighth the day of racing was deceptively difficult with a breakaway quintet forming early over the flat opening kilometres and allowed enough rope by the peloton to gain a lead of over nine minutes.

The whole stage built up to the one real climb at the end with a Hors Category summit finish atop Changjiang and with 100kilometres remaining and some undulating terrain ahead the bunch started to ride tempo and reduce the gap to the five leaders.

Holding close to four minutes going into the final 20kilometres the lead group was down to four riders as more teams came to the front of the peloton to help with the chase including Mitchelton-BikeExchange.

Only two riders were left out front as they hit the base of the climb with tired legs starting to show and two minutes back to the speeding bunch, Willier-Triestina were the first to attack from the pack as Jacopo Mosca clipped off the front in pursuit of the two leaders.

The peloton reduced rapidly on the low slopes of the climb, with a select group forming every quickly and catching what was left of the breakaway with four kilometres left to race.  Nazaerbieke Bieken tried hard to hang on, but the pace was too high, and he slipped out of the contenders group.

That group whittled down five riders, then two before a brutal, late acceleration by Fausto Masnada (Androni-Giocattoli-Sidermec) distanced Gino Mader (Swiss-Cycling-Team) in the final 500metres to seal the stage win and move the Italian into the race lead.

Bieken battled on and crossed the line within the top 20 to move up to 22nd on the GC from 35th at the start of the stage with one more day of racing to come tomorrow.

Nazaerbieke Bieken:

Today the team did great job for me. In the flat section there was strong crosswinds and sometimes it felt hard to keep my position in the peloton, but my teammates protected me very well.

“We started the climb really fast and I was feeling good over the first two kilometres, but with around four kilometres to go I couldn’t keep up with the leaders.

“My heart and lungs were still ok, but my legs were not on top form. Although the result is not good enough, I still really appreciate the experience myself and the team have gained from such a hard summit finish in such a high-level race.”

Tour of Hainan stage eight results:

1. Fausto Masnada (Androni-Giocattoli-Sidermec) 04:55:02

2. Gino Mader (Swiss-Cycling-Team) +0:05

3. Julien El Fares (Delko-Marseiile-KTM) +0:06

19. Nazaerbieke Bieken (Mitchelton-BikeExchange) +1:48

General Classification after stage eight:

1. Fausto Masnada (Androni-Giocattoli-Sidermec) 31:16:28

2. Gino Mader (Swiss-Cycling-Team) +0:02

3. Julien El Fares (Delko-Marseiile-KTM) +0:10

22. Nazaerbieke Bieken (Mitchelton-BikeExchange) +3:53