Mitchelton-BikeExchange wrap up the Tour of China II with third GC, best Asian rider & points jerseySun 23 Sep 2018
A successful week of racing at the Tour of China II came to a close for Mitchelton-BikeExchange today with Kaden Groves taking second on the final stage, third overall and also the blue points jersey.
For the second race in a row the team also went away with the white jersey for best Asian rider, with Zhi Hui Jiang leading the classification from the opening stage until the race’s climax in Anshun, sealing a dominant fortnight after Chinese champion Niu Yikui achieved the same feat in Tour of China I.
After placing second and third with Groves and Sam Jenner in the prologue, the Chinese outfit set themselves a benchmark for the rest of the race and never dropped out of the top ten.
Groves contested every sprint and was consistent throughout, coming close to the stage win on more than one occasion. None more so than today’s final day of racing when, after a great lead out, the 19-year-old Australian came within half a wheel of victory.
Second place was good enough to seal a return to the overall podium as Jakub Mareczko (Willier-Triestina-Selle-Italia) took the stage win and Alejandro Marque (Sporting-Tavira) the overall race winner.
Zhi Hui Jiang:
“Today we produced some great teamwork. We controlled the peloton perfectly from the start. Kaden was in a very good position near the first intermediate sprint, but a mechanical problem forced him to give up the chance for time bonus.”
“Our sprint train worked very well at the finish with me leading Kaden into 300metres to go and we were so close from the overall victory. It's a pity we didn't win, but I'm very proud of our efforts.
“I'm very happy to win the white jersey and to finish around the top ten overall in such a big event has given me more confidence.”
Sport director James Victor:
“The whole team have been great throughout the race, the only thing missing is a stage win, but we achieved everything else that we set out to. After starting so well, the support within the team to maintain our positions overall has been first class with good commitment and organisation.
“We’ve come a long way in 12months and after a lot of hard work we are now showing that we can compete on all fronts in these races and control the situation whilst maintaining our positions and setting up our leaders for results.
“Today’s final stage was another fast one and after some great work setting up Kaden for the final he came very close to the win and that would’ve been a clean sweep.
“Nevertheless, we can come away from the race with lots of confidence and to win our second Asian rider jersey with Zhi Hui Jiang is fantastic. It’s a big thing for a Chinese team and our Chinese riders and was also a major objective of ours.
“The whole team has gained a lot over the last two weeks and we will be carrying the experience and confidence into the rest of the season with the challenging Tour of Hainan our next race on the Asia Tour in October.”
Tour of China II stage five results:
1. Jakub Mareczko (Willier-Triestina-Selle-Italia) 02:38:50
2. Kaden Groves (Mitchelton-BikeExchange) ST
3. Andrii Kulyk (Beijing-XDS-Innova) ST
Final general classification:
1. Alejandro Marque (Sporting-Tavira) 10:24:05
2. Artem Ovechkin (Teregganu-Cycling-Team) ST
3. Kaden Groves (Mitchelton-BikeExchange) +0:01