Challenging day in the mountains shakes up the GC on stage six in HainanSun 28 Oct 2018
As anticipated the mountainous sixth stage Tour of Hainan did not disappoint with the action over the final climb shaking up the general classification and Mitchelton-BikeExchange caught behind the select leading group.
Arguably the toughest stage of the race and the key GC day with four categorised climbs over 192kilometres – two of which were first cat – stage six witnessed attacks out of the neutral zone as the peloton began the flat approach to the first of the climbs.
Three riders went clear with more chasing out of the bunch, including Zhi Hui Jiang, but unfortunately for the chasers they didn’t manage to bridge the gap and were swept up by the peloton. With 50kilometres covered the trio held an advantage of six minutes.
That lead did not change until the first climb of the day 80kilometres in, dropping to four minutes on the ascent with Italian team Androni-Giocattoli-Sidermec leading the pack.
The break split on the penultimate climb when Gatis Smukulis (Delko-Marseille) accelerated away from his two companions who were subsequently caught by the Androni led peloton.
Smukulis held two minutes 40seconds as he hit the final first category climb with 25kilometres to go, but the reducing peloton set a furious pace onto the base of the climb and the Latvian was caught a few kilometres later.
Shattering on the climb, the key contenders showed themselves early with a small select group gong clear over the top of the climb and flying into the descent towards the finish with Gino Mader (Swiss-Cycling-Team) taking the win and Nazerbieke Bieken the first over the line for MBE in the second chasing group.
Raymond Kreder (Team-Ukyo) moves into the overall lead with three days of racing to come and the yellow jersey changing hands four times over the first six stages.
“I'm not feeling as good as yesterday. It's the sixth consecutive stage in the Tour of Hainan and the hardest one so far, so I can feel the fatigue in my legs.
“At the start of the last climb I was a bit too far back in the peloton, and at the top of the climb I was about 100metres away from the leaders, riding by myself with no other riders.
“I tried to chase back but actually I was caught by a small group of riders including the yellow jersey in the downhill. I finished nearly two minutes down from the stage winner. I hope I can recover in tomorrow's flat stage and see how I feel in the uphill finish of stage eight.”
Tour of Hainan stage six results:
1. Gino Mader (Swiss-Cycling-Team) 05:02:27
2. Guillaume Boivin (Israel-Cycling-Academy) ST
3. Lorenzo Rota (Bardiani-CSF) ST
34. Nazerbieke Bieken (Mitchelton-BikeExchange) +1:52