Chaves and Bieken climb strongly to finish with the leaders on stage five in HainanSat 27 Oct 2018
Stage five saw the peloton hit the hills for the first time at this year’s Tour of Hainan with Mitchelton-BikeExchange well represented on the right side of the inevitable splits by Brayan Chaves and Nazaerbieke Bieken.
The fight to get in the breakaway began early on the hilly fifth stage with Australian Harry Sweenyone of the first protagonists over the opening kilometres, but with a fast pace being set by the bunch there was still no break after 50kilometres.
Three categorised climbs within 45kilometres ran across the middle of the stage and after 100kilometres of racing a four rider move started to develop a slight lead over the climbs.
Holding one minute on the peloton as the race hit the final 50kilometres the leading quartet tried to hang on, but the efforts of Adroni-Giocattoli-Sidermec brought the race back together with 40kilometres to go as the Italian team looked to gain points in the intermediate sprint that came before the finish.
Fresh attacks caused more splits after the sprint with Bieken and Chaves part of a chasing group some 30seconds behind six leaders as the race hit the final ten kilometres.
The final was fraught with tension as the leaders tried to stay away before being caught in the last kilometre with Manuel Belletti (Androni-Giocattoli-Sidermec) taking then win from the reduced bunch kick and Bieken and Chaves finishing within the leading group.
“It was a really hard day, so many attacks coming close together and of course a hilly day and wet. The first hour was absolutely full gas with attacks for everyone and the climbs were pretty steep, but short and they did what was expected and split the race early.”
“Bieken has really good legs, and you can see how easy he takes on the climbs and that’s really positive for us with the stages coming up. In the final the last 40kilometres were really quick thanks to the wind and despite getting a puncture with 20kilometres to go we managed to get back into the front group.
“The stage tomorrow is going to be really hard and we will see how the legs are going after today and for sure the weather will be an important factor whether it rains again or goes back to being intensely hot.”
Tour of Hainan stage five results:
1. Manuel Belletti (Androni-Giocattoli-Sidermec) 04:09:07
2. Jannik Steimle (Vorarlberg-Santic) ST
3. Raymond Kreder (Team-Ukyo) ST
17. Brayan Chaves (Mitchelton-BikeExchange) ST