Perseverance pays off for Mitchelton-BikeExchange as Kaden Groves wins final stage at Tour of QinghaSat 4 Aug 2018
Australian sprinter Kaden Groves secured his maiden victory for Mitchelton-BikeExchange today, sprinting to the win on the final stage of the Tour of Qinghai Lake in China.
A challenging two weeks of racing at altitude in China drew to a close with a fast, urban circuit race around Lanzhou with Groves securing the stage win that had eluded the Chinese outfit for the previous twelve stages.
Another consistent team display saw every man play his part with Harry Sweeny and Briton Jacob Hennessy working hard to position Groves near the front as the final approached.
Hennessy was last man for Groves in the lead-out and hit warp speed with around 700metres to go before the former Australian U19 road champion kicked with 300metres remaining, maintaining his speed all the way to the line for a memorable victory.
The Tour started well for Mitchelton-BikeExchange with Hennessy eighth on the opening stage and following it up with second on stage two before mounting the podium again with third on stage 12.
Suffering some difficult days in between sprint stages, Australian climber Drew Morey fought hard in the mountains to stay in contact with the GC leaders, but it was the Colombians who dominated with Hernan Aguirre (Manzana-Postobon) taking successive stage wins and the overall victory.
Chinese rider Bi Wenhui rode himself into the ground on every stage in service of his teammates, a task which intensified when compatriot Sun Xiaolong was forced to abandon after stage seven due to sickness.
“The last stage turned out to be a very successful day for us. We had a plan and we executed it perfectly. The boys were great, and I couldn’t have asked any more of them, I was in the right spot at the right time and I am really happy to have been able to finish it off with a win.”
“It started hard because the sprint teams were trying to claim the green jersey and it was a hard circuit with a highway climb and positioning was very important, without the team I couldn’t have been there in the finish.
“Today was our last chance to get the result we’d been aiming for over the last two weeks, we could only do our best and thankfully that was good enough. It’s an unreal feeling and the perfect way to finish our first Tour of Qinghai Lake.”
“It’s incredible. What a way to finish the race, unbelievable. Really happy to have been there in the last couple of kilometres for Kaden, I was telling him throughout the stage that I was feeling good and we could do this. Trying to keep us motivated for the final.
“The final stage and everyone was tired and hurting after two weeks of hard racing, but we did it. It’s extra special and maybe more important for us to get the stage win as a Chinese team in one of the biggest races in China. We’ve done ourselves proud here, everybody has got on well and worked hard for each other and I think that’s gained us some respect within the peloton and is something to be proud of.
“We came close so many times, second, third, fourth. Top ten’s nearly every stage and it’s so nice to leave China with the victory that we actually set out for. They say that you’re only as good as your last race and today is the day that we are all going to remember.”
Tour of Qinghai Lake stage 13 results:
1. Kaden Groves (Mitchelton-BikeExchange) 02:08:17
2. Lucas Carstensen (Bike-Aid) ST
3. Cameron Scott (Australian-Cycling-Academy) ST
Final general classification:
1. Hernan Aguirre (Manzana-Postobon) 42:16:47
2. Hernando Bohorquez (Manzana-Postobon) +1:05
3. Radoslav Rogina (Adria-Mobil) +2:35
31. Drew Morey (Mitchelton-BikeExchange) +18:10
Photos courtesy of the Tour of Qinghai Lake.