RECAP: Mitchelton-BikeExchange take positives from the Trophee Paris-ArrasWed 23 May 2018
Chinese UCI Continental team Mitchelton-BikeExchange came through the three day A Travers Les Hauts De France - Trophee Paris-Arras with more experienced gained and some positive results for Jiang Zhihui who enjoyed several outings in the breakaway.
A typically tough northern French event took its toll early on the team with Australian Harry Sweeny forced to abandon due to the lingering effects of a concussion sustained a few days prior.
Taking no chances, the team continued with a compact squad and it was Jiang who just missed out on the top 20 after the speeding bunch brought back the early break over the hectic closing kilometres.
A big crash split the field, but Jiang managed to avoid it and placed 21st just behind the bunch sprint.
Stage two was a hilly affair and yet again Jiang was active, making it into the breakaway move and also gaining points in both the sprints and mountains classifications. Misfortune was to strike again however, this time with Callum Scotson caught in a crash and injuring both wrists, but fortunately not seriously.
The break split and the last 40kilometres and Jiang got caught on the wrong side and dropped back to the bunch to ride for Scotson, Brayan Chaves and Sun Xiaolong with Scotson eventually finishing 37th.
More rolling roads characterised the third and final stage with the peloton riding tempo behind a small breakaway group for much of the stage. Scotson tried his best shake up proceedings into the final 20kilometres with some powerful turns on the front that brought the break within reach and precipitated a late solo attack by Jiang Zhihui.
Jiang was reeled in just before the finish and the stage wrapped in a fast bunch sprint with Scotson, Jiang and Chaves finishing in the main field and Scoston the highest placed on the general classification in 37th some four minutes behind the overall winner, Austrian Stephan Rabitsch.
Sport director Dave Sanders:
“We may not have achieved the top ten result we were looking for, but the whole team stepped up each day and Brayan along with our Chinese riders are gaining more confidence and experience with every European race they compete in.”
“Jiang Zhihui is making some real progress and tried to liven the race up on a number of occasions with his efforts in the breakaway and with a late solo attack on the last stage.
“He is showing a lot of character in his racing and with some more race condition and competitive kilometres in his legs, he could be consistently achieving the top ten in these tough northern European races.
“It always takes some time to make the full transition from world class track competition onto the road, but Callum is getting better with every race and his power is more consistent compared to just after the commonwealth games and all in all we can look forward to some good results from the team over the summer races.”
Travers Les Hauts De France - Trophee Paris-Arras final general classification:
1. Stephan Rabitsch (Team-Felbermayr-Simplon-Wels) 11:36:42
2. Josef Cerny (Elkov-Author-Cycling-Team) +0:06
3. Jannik Steimle (Team-Vorarlberg-Santic) +0:28
37. Callum Scotson (Mitchelton-BikeExchange) +4:42