Niu Yikui remains top ten overall after short and punchy stage four in ChinaTue 11 Sep 2018
Chinese road champion Niu Yikui went deep to stay in contact on today’s stage four of the Tour of China, finishing in the top 30 and now sixth overall with three more days of racing to come.
At only 70kilometres, stage four was the shortest and potentially most divisive of the race with a long second category climb coming straight out of the start followed by technical rolling roads all the way to the finish.
Done and dusted in less than two hours, Mitchelton-BikeExchange were alive to the chances of an early split and positioned themselves accordingly with the sole objective of keeping Niu within the top ten general classification.
The bunch split repeatedly over the course of the stage and eventually came back together with a lead group of around 50riders in the closing kilometres. Harry Sweeny and Nazaerbieke Bieken both rode well and were alongside Niu within that group.
Into the final and it was Italian Jacopo Mosca (Willier-Triestina) who took the stage win with Juan Sebastian Molano (Manzana-Postobon) retaining the race lead.
Sport director Dave Sanders:
“It was a deceptively difficult stage today, the first climb was one long drag almost from the start followed by many short, steep punches on very narrow and winding roads.”
“Despite the repeated splits the boys rode very well in support of Niu and although we slipped back from third to sixth overall we are still on course for a good result and have come through two tough stages really positively.
“With the remaining stages all set to be sprint finishes we are in a good position to maintain a top ten on the general classification and try to go for some stage results with Jacob Hennessy.”
Tour of china stage four results:
1. Jacopo Mosca (Willier-Triestina-Selle-Italia) 01:41:41
2. Sam Crome (Bennelong-SwissWellness)
3. Damiano Cima (Nippo-Vini Fantini-Europa Ovini) ST
30. Niu Yikui (Mitchelton-BikeExchange) ST
General classification after stage four:
1. Juan Sebastian Molano (Manzana-Postobon) 10:29:05
2. Jacopo Mosca (Willier-Triestina-Selle-Italia) +0:08
3. Damiano Cima (Nippo-Vini Fantini-Europa Ovini) +0:12
6. Niu Yikui (Mitchelton-BikeExchange) +0:12