Zhi Hui Jiang’s breakaway move caught late as sprinters take spoils on stage seven in Hainan

Mon 29 Oct 2018

A short and explosive seventh stage of the Tour of Hainan saw the sprinters again take the glory after a late catch of the breakaway trio that included Mitchelton-BikeExchange’s Zhi Hui Jiang.

After successive climbing days the race dropped back down towards the Islands coast for a fast 123kilometres that witnessed plenty of early attacks before a solid move managed to gain some ground on the peloton.

A large group looked like it was about to go over the first 30kilometres, but the bunch decided it was too risky and as it was caught Zhi Hui Jiang chose his moment to go and accelerated away with Jason Lea (Bennelong).

Moments later they were joined by Wim Kleiman (Monkey-Town) and the trio started to rotate well together, developing a lead of close to four minutes as the pack sat up and Zhi Hui started to think about intermediate sprint points.

After sharing points in both sprints the three leaders pushed on into the closing 40kilometres with more than an eye on a stage result, but the sprinters teams organised themselves behind and with Bardiani-CSF on the front with Team-Ukyo Zhi Hui and companions didn’t stand much of a chance.

Determined to hold out as long as possible, they were caught late inside the final ten kilometres as a fast finish unfurled almost immediately with Marco Benfatto (Androni-Giocattoli-Sidermec) taking the win and Jacob Hennessy in 14th.

Raymond Kreder (Team-Ukyo) finished within the top ten to hold on to the overall race lead going into tomorrow’s eighth stage and a brutal hors category summit finish in Changjiang. Nazerbieke Bieken remains the team’s best placed rider on GC in 35th.

Zhi Hui Jiang:

With the first KOM at six kilometres into the race and then a long downhill, the early part of the stage was very fast, and nobody could break away from the peloton. After the downhill I attacked together with about 20riders, but the Hengxiang team was chasing very hard.”

“I attacked again right at the moment when the peloton caught the leading group and we formed a three-man breakaway. I was informed that the Bennelong rider Jason Lea was only 1’32” down on the GC, so I could leave him doing more of the leading work in the breakaway, while I could save energy to try for a stage result.

“Going into the last ten kilometres we still had a lead of 1’17”, and then 40seconds with four kiolmetres to go. At that point we were all very tired and we couldn’t work together any more.

“Of course, I feel upset that we couldn’t make it to the finish, but it was a very good try and good experience for me. I hope I can have more chances to go into the breakaway in the last two stages.”

Tour of Hainan stage seven results:

1. Marco Benfatto (Androni-Giocattoli-Sidermec) 02:52:53

2. Imerio Cima (Nippo-Vini Fantini-Europa-Ovini) ST

3. Andrea Guardini (Bardiani-CSF) ST

14. Jacob Hennessy (Mitchelton-BikeExchange) ST

General classification after stage seven:

1. Raymond Kreder (Team-Ukyo) 26:21:12

2. Gino Mader (Swiss-Cycling-Team) +0:07

3. Guillame Boivin (Israel-Cycling-Academy) +0:11

35. Nazerbieke Bieken (Mitchelton-BikeExchange) +2:09