Niu Yikui wins the best Asian rider jersey at the Tour of China part one

Sat 15 Sep 2018

Chinese road champion Niu Yikui finished safely within the peloton on the final stage of the Tour of China part one today to place fifth overall for Mitchelton-BikeExchange, winning the white jersey for the best Asian rider.

Today’s short final stage of 107kilometres brought to a close part one of the Tour. Raced over fast circuits with an early climb ascended twice before flat loops around the finish in Xinning, as expected the stage climaxed in a bunch sprint won by Manuel Penalver (Trevigiani-Phonix-Hemus).

Supported well by the team throughout the week, Niu performed consistently and finished mere seconds from a podium spot. British sprinter Jacob Hennessy was in the mix on the flatter finale’s and alongside Australian Harry Sweeny played a key role in protecting Niu and the white jersey.

Chinese riders Bi Wenhui, Liu Jiankun and Nazerbieke Bieken all improved as the race went on, gaining more valuable experience at this level of competition with Bi in particular invaluable in his service of the team over the early kilometres on each stage.

Colombian Juan Sebastian Molano (Manzna-Postobon) took the race lead in the mountains on stage two and held the yellow jersey right over the next five days to seal the race win.

Niu Yikui:

After a whole week of racing I wasn’t feeling that fresh in today’s final stage of the Tour of China, but all my teammates still did a brilliant job for me during the stage.”

“I’m very happy to finish the race with the white jersey and a high position on the GC. It is my best GC result in my career so far, and to get it in the national champion’s jersey made it even more special.

“In the Tour of China part two there will be two individual time-trials so I won’t expect a very high GC ranking from myself, but I will try my best to help my team.”

Sport director Dave Sanders:

“We have had a really positive week all in all and I am really pleased with how the team rode and bonded well with each other.”

“They worked hard to achieve our major objectives of the best Asian rider jersey and a high result on GC and through supporting each other on every stage they got that result.

"I believe that all our guys have picked up valuable experience from the race, especially our Chinese riders and it will serve them, well for the coming objectives.

“To top the Asian rider category and also the greater China classification with Niu as national road champion is really something and it sets us up nicely for second part of the Tour of China next week.”

Tour of China 1 stage 7 results:

1. Manuel Penalver (Trevigiani-Phonix-Hemus) 02:38:33

2. Steele Von Hoff (Bennelong-SwissWellness) ST

3. Liu Jianpeng (Hengxiang-Cycling-Team) ST

28. Jacob Hennessy (Mitchelton-BikeExchange) ST

Final general classification:

1. Juan Sebastian Molano (Manzna-Postobon) 18:05:10

2. Damiano Cima (Nippo-Vini Fantini-Europa-Ovini) +0:08

3. Jacopo Mosca (Willier-Triestina-Selle-Italia) +0:18

5. Niu Yikui (Mitchelton-BikeExchange) +0:20