Groves in the mix with fourth on stage nine in QinghaiMon 30 Jul 2018
A rolling, but slightly less hilly stage nine of the Tour of Qinghai Lake in China took place today with former Australian U19 road champion Kaden Groves sprinting into fourth place for Mitchelton-BikeExchange.
After successive long and difficult stages and a fast first hour of racing the peloton was happy to let a four-rider breakaway gain some time over the undulating terrain and by the halfway point of the stage the group had around three minutes over the bunch.
Controlled by the sprinters teams and the Colombian GC leaders, the tempo remained steady towards the final in Wuwei where a hectic finish awaited.
Once the catch was made over the closing ten kilometres the battle for position began in earnest and Harry Sweeny and Jacob Hennessy looked after Groves well, managing to avoid a late crash and delivering the 19-year-old Australian into a good position to contest the sprint.
Turkish champion Onur Balkan (Torku-Sekerspor) ran out the stage winner with groves doing well to place fourth and just miss out on Mitchelton-BikeExchange’s second podium of the race.
“Today’s stage started really fast and we covered 50kilometres in the first hour, there were a lot of attacks as riders tried to make the breakaway and it was pretty hectic and constant.”
“Once the breakaway actually formed it was down to the sprint teams to control the tempo alongside the general classification leaders, Manzana Postabon and the race started to settle down.
“With it being a slightly flatter stage, it was always likely that the break would be brought back, and it would end in a sprint and I can’t thank the team enough for their support in the final. Harry and Jacob did a great job. Fourth is all I had today but we have more to give and we’re still trying for that stage win.”
Tour of Qinghai Lake stage nine results:
1. Onur Balkan (Torku-Sekerspor) 03:55:50
2. Luca Pacioni (Willier-Triestina-Selle-Italia) ST
3. Brenton Jones (Delko-Marseille) ST
4. Kaden Groves (Mitchelton-BikeExchange) ST
Photos courtesy of the Tour of Qinghai Lake.