Breakaway Stays Away at Tour of China II
20 September 2018
Race: 2018 Tour of China II, Stage 3
Location: Zhuhai Hengqin / Zhuhai Hengqin, China
Distance: 92 kilometers
ZHUHAI HENGQIN, CHN – Team Novo Nordisk worked inside the peloton on Thursday to contain a dangerous breakaway during the third stage of the Tour of China II.
A group of escapees went early in the 92km circuit race and ended up crossing the line five seconds ahead of the pack, despite all efforts to reel them in. After nearly two hours of racing on a fast, flat course, Seid Lizde of Italy won the stage from a group of nine riders. Team Novo Nordisk’s Mehdi Benhamouda finished four seconds back, 20th overall on a day when nearly all 113 cyclists finished together.
After a full week of the Tour of China I, and now three road stages plus an opening prologue in the Tour of China II, the world’s first all-diabetes pro cycling team has dialed in its sprint train and heads into Friday’s rest day with an eye to Sunday’s final sprint chances in Anshun.
But first, Saturday is a 21km individual time trial in Anshun, and will take place at 1400m above sea level. To get there, the teams in the Tour of China II will spend Friday on a bullet train to transfer 1150km away from the Guangdong province sea coast near Macau, Shenzhen and Hong Kong.
“Today was 92 kilometers of pancake-flat racing. The breakaway went up the road in the second lap, and the peloton kind of relaxed and let get it out to 1:00 gap.
We sent Ema up the front to help bring it back, and the gap got brought down to 5 seconds coming into the line. So we thought it was going to come back for a sprint, so we led out Mehdi. But it ended up staying away by about 5 seconds, so he was just going for the bunch sprint. Mehdi ended up getting a top 20 in the bunch sprint, which is nice and means our lead-out train is getting better.
Tomorrow we have 1100km transfer by train, which is going to be an all-day adventure. We’ll be able to relax and freshen up our legs for the 21-km time trial on Saturday, which is going to be difficult because it’s at 1400km elevation. Going from sea-level to elevation is going to be difficult, but we’ll give it a red-hot crack anyway.”
1st: Seid Lizde (Androni Giocattoli – Sidermec): 1:53:51
2nd: Michael Freiberg (Bennelong SwissWellness Cycling Team): 0:02 behind Lizde
3rd: Jacopo Mosca (Wilier Triestina – Selle Italia): ”
20th: Mehdi Benhamouda: 0:04 behind Lizde
(Photos: ©Anne Wu)