Wet and challenging stage three favours the late attack in FuzhouFri 16 Nov 2018
A cursory look at the parcours for stage three of the Tour of Fuzhou and it was easy to see that the positioning of the climb before the finish could possibly favour a late attack and indeed it did as a trio went clear on the approach and held off the chasing bunch that held Kaden Groves and Liu Jiiankun of Mitchelton-BikeExchange.
Two early climbs characterised the first third of today’s stage that began in awful conditions, rain and low visibility made things difficult as the race blew apart on the ascents.
With race leader Lyu Xianjing (Hengxiang-Cycling-Team) also topping the Greater Chinese rider category, Liu Jiankun spent another day in the white jersey, sitting in second place in the competition, just over one minute down on his compatriot and producing another strong display on the hills today.
Both riders were part of the leading group that went clear on the first ascent with Liu Jiankun picking up points in the second KOM before the group cautiously tackled the wet and slippery descent down to the flat roads.
Slowly the bunch started to reform on the flat urban roads that led to the finish even though the pace was kept high due to a group off the front that included the second placed rider on GC Ilya Davidenok (Beijing XDS-Innova-Cycling Team) with Hengxiang using all their riders in a bid to close a gap that stretched past one minute.
The chase intensified on to the final climb, but the work of Hengxiang could not close the gap sufficiently and what now had become agroupm of three leaders, still carried an advantage into the finishing straight.
Ivar Slik (Monkey-Town) sprinted early for the stage win with Davidenok in second place and doing enough to move into the race lead ahead of tomorrow’s final mountain stage.
Groves and Liu Jiankun crossed the line within the chasing bunch some 15seconds later after some great work by Sam Jenner, Zhi Hui Jiang and Nazaerbieke Bieken to keep them well positioned ahead of the more significant splits in the peloton.
“It was a tough stage today with wet weather and narrow concrete roads. Liu rode really strongly, making the splits on the first climb. The rest of us then descended onto the peloton, making contact as we hit the flatter roads.”
“With around eight kilometres to go we hit the final climb before the finish, and it was St George who set a hard tempo allowing Ben Dyball to ride across to the break.
“The three riders had a good gap by the top, it was too hard for the bunch to bring it back on the descent and with two kilometres to go at the bottom it was too late. There’s another sprint opportunity on Sunday, but tomorrow we will look to support liu on the climbs.”
Tour of Fuzhou stage three results:
1. Ivar Slik (Monkey-Town-Continental-Team) 02:15:10
2. Ilya Davidenok (Beijing XDS-Innova-Cycling Team) ST
3. Benjamin Dyball (ST.George-Continental) ST
16. Zhi Hui Jiang (Mitchelton-BikeExchange) +0:15
General classification after stage three:
1. Ilya Davidenok (Beijing XDS-Innova-Cycling Team) 07:23:52
2. Benjamin Dyball (St.George-Continental-Team) +0:12
3. Lyu Xianjing ( (Hengxiang-Cycling-Team) +0:21
12. Liu Jiankun (Mitchelton-BikeExchange) +1:40
Photos courtesy of the Tour of Fuzhou.