Sprinters claim the day on stage six of the Tour of China

Thu 13 Sep 2018

The penultimate stage of part one of the ninth Tour of China wrapped in a bunch sprint with Chinese road champion Niu Yikui finishing within the peloton to retain the lead of the best Asian rider classification.

Mitchelton-BikeExchange had been looking to position British fast man Jacob Hennessy for a crack at the stage whilst also maintaining Niu Yikui’s third place on the general classification, but it was a testing day for the Chinese outfit and they were left frustrated at the end.

Pan flat over 113kilometres around Qianjinag, stage six was only ever going to end in a sprint and again it was the Italians that dominated in the final.

Hennessy hit the front early with around 500metres to go, but was pinned by the fence on the roadside and in the end, it was Damiano Cima (Nippo-Vini Fantini-Europa Ovini) who took the stage win.

Niu Yikui slipped one place overall to fourth behind race leader Juan Sebastian Molano (Manzana-Postobon) with one day of racing to come but holds onto the white jersey for best Asian rider.

Sport director Dave Sanders:

“It was a really open and windy stage today and we tried early to break out of the bunch in a bid to gain some bonus points via the intermediate sprints. We managed to get clear and Jacob led out Niu, but he is starting to feel the fatigue of the week and ran fourth.”

“Ahead of the final we worked on the front alongside Manzano-Postobon mainly to sit the guys comfortably out of trouble and in a good position to try and set Jacob up for the sprint.

“We lined up for the final well initially but ran out of men too early and Jacob hit the front too far out and got caught up against the fence whilst to trying to catch one of the other team’s passing trains.

“The white jersey was one of our targets coming into the race and despite slipping down to fourth today, Niu still retains his lead there and barring any mishap on Saturday’s final stage we are on course to achieve that objective.”

Tour of China stage six results:

1. Damiano Cima (Nippo-Vini Fantini-Europa Ovini) 02:31:59

2. Marco Benfatto (Androni-Gicattoli-Sidermec) ST

3. Juan Sebastian Molano (Manzana-Postobon) ST

54. Jacob Hennessy (Mitchelton-BikeExchange) ST

General classification after stage six:

1. Juan Sebastian Molano (Manzana-Postobon) 15:26:31

2. Damiano Cima (Nippo-Vini Fantini-Europa Ovini)

3. Jacopo Mosca (Willier-Triestina-Selle-Italia) +0:16

4. Niu Yikui (Mitchelton-BikeExchange) +0:18