Crash marred sprint finish on stage one at the Tour of Hainan

Tue 23 Oct 2018

Mitchelton-BikeExchange watched their chances of a result on stage one of the Tour of Hainan go up in smoke when a heavy crash in the final kilometre totally disrupted the sprint.

The 13thedition kicked off with a 90kilometre circuit race around Danzhou covering four laps of 22.5kilometres and as expected, it was a fast start with repeated breakaway attempts popping before a six-rider move started to develop an advantage.

Chinese road champion Niu Yikui made it into the move and the sextet worked well together, rotating fluently to gain over one minute on the peloton controlled by Willier-Triestina.

The group fractured after the intermediate sprint with Niu Yikui picking up points in third place and only two riders left out front fighting against the inevitable.

Willier-Triestina remained in control of the peloton throughout and made the catch with five kilometres to go and the anticipated bunch sprint now a certainty, but it was a huge crash with 600metres to go that unfortunately defined the final.

Jakub Mareczko (Willier-Triestina) took the win, but the bunch was decimated by the crash and both Jacob Hennessy and Zhi Hui Jiang were left without an opportunity to contest the stage.

Niu Yikui:

It wasn’t our original plan to go into the breakaway, but on the first lap there were many attacks from other teams, so we had to follow some of them. After the first lap I went into the break with five other riders two of them from Hengxiang team.”

“Their tactic was pretty clear in the intermediate sprint. Liu Jianpeng attacked several times before the sprint and I had to follow him. I was a bit tired when Zhang Zheng finally launched his sprint and I could only manage to finish third in the sprint.

“After that I went back to the peloton, hoping I could help my teammates in the finish, but the big crash with 600m to go just blocked the road and all of us were behind the crash. We’ll try again tomorrow, and I hope we can have better luck.”

Tour of Hainan stage one results:

1. Jakub Mareczko (Willier-Triestina-Selle-Italia) 02:02:40

2. Dylan Page (Swiss-Cycling-Team) ST

3. Manuel Belletti (Androni-Giocatolli-Sidermec) ST

37. Brayan Chaves (Mitchelton-BikeExchange) ST