Race: Tour of China II – Stage 1
Anshun — Mehdi Benhamouda took yet another top 10 result for Team Novo Nordisk in China as he sprinted to 8th place on the challenging Stage 1 of Tour of China II.
The fight for positioning was fierce from the start as the technical and narrow roads meant it was crucial to stay upfront to not be caught by any splits. Team Novo Nordisk rode strongly as a team and kept a good position in the main field all day.
Mehdi Benhamouda suffered a crash mid stage but fortunately was still able to stay in the race. The stage was decided in a classic bunch sprint with Frenchman Benhamouda taking a strong 8th place on the line.
Marco Benfatto (Androni Giocattoli) won and Artem Ovechkin (Terengganu Cycling Team) finished safely in the bunch to keep the lead in the overall classification.
Tour of China II continues this Wednesday with an 127.8 km stage in Anshun that includes two intermediated sprints and one Cat-4 climb.
“In the beginning we faced really narrow roads and the goal for us was to be at the front and not loose the position. The first 60 km of the stage were good but unfortunately I crashed just after we crossed a bridge that narrowed into a small road. Someone touched my front wheel and I crashed when I was going at 60 km/h. I was able to come back to the peloton and to fight in the finish. We don’t have too many opportunities to sprint in Tour of China II as there is a lot more climbing and it’s more for the GC guys. I took an eight place and hopefully I will have another opportunity to sprint and fight for a better result.”
“As expected it was a really hard stage today. Everyone wanted to be at the front to start in a good position when it got to the narrow and technical roads. As a team we did a good job to stay there and none of us dropped. In the end we tried to help Mehdi (Benhamouda). He had an unfortunate crash mid-stage and we weren’t sure how well he was feeling but he told us during the stage he felt he still as able to sprint and he did really well. We got another top 10 result so overall it was a hard day but I think we can be happy”
Stage 1 Classification
1st – Marco Benfatto (Androni Giocattoli) – 03:13:53
2nd – Youcef Reguigui (Terengganu Cycling Team) 0:00:00
3rd – Nicolas Marini (Tianyoude Hotel Cycling) – 0:00:00
8th – Mehdi Benhamouda (Team Novo Nordisk) – 0:00:00
(Photo: ©Anne Wu)