Blanket sprint crowds out the finish on stage three in HainanThu 25 Oct 2018
A long, long day on the bike on stage three of the 2018 Tour of Hainan wrapped in a hectic and busy bunch sprint with Jacob Hennessy trying hard to break through for Mitchelton-BikeExchange and crossing the line in the top 20.
The third and longest stage of this year’s race at 231kilometres began well for MBE with Zhi Hui Jiang making it into a six-man breakaway that went clear over the early kilometres and quickly gained close to seven minutes on the bunch.
Working well together, the group pushed on and after some fluctuation, the gap stabilised at five minutes 70kilometres in. Beginning to drop slightly at the halfway point with Zhi Hui Jiang slipping back to the peloton after losing contact at the first intermediate sprint.
Five minutes was where the gap stayed until the final 60kilometres when the Swiss-Cycling team stepped things up at the front of the peloton, bringing the leaders within two minutes by the 30kilometres to go mark.
Not long after and the group split completely, and the race came back together inside the final ten kilometres with Manuel Belllettei (Androni-Giocattoli-Sidermec) taking the win from a crowded sprint and Hennessy again up there in the top 20.
“It was such a long stage today and concluded in a super cagey final, it was hit, over 30degrees all day and the bunch just sat at tempo behind the break and it almost felt more like we had all been told to ride to the next hotel.”
“The positive is I felt really good in the final few kilometres, but it was very crowded with lots of fighting for position and everywhere I moved was quickly closed off.
“There was also lot of nervous energy in there with many people anxious from the first day’s crash and it was a really stop-start sprint. I just couldn't find my way to the front, but the team did a great job and we’ll try again tomorrow.”
Tour of Hainan stage three results:
1. Manuel Belllettei (Androni-Giocattoli-Sidermec) 05:45:48
2. Raymond Kreder (Team-Ukyo) ST
3. Dylan Page (Swiss-Cycling-Team) ST
20. Jacob Hennessy (MItchelton-BikeExchange) ST