Benhamouda Just Outside Top 10 at Tour of Hainan
02 November 2017
Race: Tour of Hainan, stage 6
Start/Finish: Changjiang/Sanya, China
Distance: 220 kilometers
SANYA, CHINA – Team Novo Nordisk felt the crosswinds again on Thursday at the Tour of Hainan, on a long southerly jaunt down the west coast of China’s tropical tourist destination for five hours of stage six.
Heat and humidity again took their toll on the peloton, and in anticipation of Friday’s Queen Mountain Stage into the hilly interior of Hainan Island, the 113 remaining riders in the peloton let a small breakaway build a four-minute gap before snapping to attention and commencing the chase. Once again the race would end in a mass sprint, Team Novo Nordisk available with two riders at the finish.
A crowded finish line opened to Mehdi Benhamouda and Umberto Poli on Thursday, who now have seven top 15s between them at the 2017 Tour of Hainan, steady results their young professional careers, with marked improvement stage by stage as fatigue and difficulty increase. On Friday there will be a pause in this style of flat racing in favor of the climbers until after the mountains.
“Generally hot conditions again today, so the bigger teams were taking it all with anticipation of the climbing on tomorrow’s Queen Stage to see what we can do. We tried to keep Mehdi and Umberto protected until the end, to get close to the top 10.”
Team Novo Nordisk Sport Director Massimo Podenzana:
“Straight roads on a long stage and a very hot day. Good teamwork to get in front of Mehdi and Umberto together, but we missed a top 10. But they rode well, and tomorrow is the hardest stage of the race.”
- Jakub Mareczko (Willier Trestina – Selle Italia) 1st : 5:08:43
- Martin Laas (Delko Marseille Provence KTM) 2nd : st
- Marco Maronese (Bardiani – CSF) 3rd : st
Team Novo Nordisk:
- Mehdi Benhamouda 12th : st
- Umberto Poli 14th : st
- Joonas Henttala 59th : st
- Reid McClure 72nd : st
- Sam Brand 74th : st
- Gerd de Keijzer 109th : 1:13 back
(Photos: ©Anne Wu)