Mizurov delivers as prologue comes down to the wire

Tabriz Petrochem rider storms to yellow

At an altitude of 2511 meters - over 200 meters higher than the highest mountain pass of this year's Tour de France - Huzhu played host to the opening stage of the Tour of Qinghai Lake for the first time in its eight year history.

Surrounded by looming mountains which reach elevations of over 5000 meters, the 143 starters faced the dizzying effect of altitude and high temperatures during the 4.8km prologue test. Kazakh Andrey Mizurov (Tabriz Petrochemicals) smashes the competition with a brilliant ride to tackle the heavy parcours in 5:41, besting Fuyu Li (Marco Polo) by six seconds. German Danilo Hondo (PSK Whirlpool) was third, eight seconds adrift.

"I expected to win," Mizurov explained in broken English before accepting the stage win, overall leaders jersey, points jersey and the polka dot jersey as best climber.

Indeed he was not the only one who expected him to win, but expectations and delivering on them are two very different things.

Rounding out the top three, with a time shared by two other riders was German sprint ace Danielo Hondo. It came down to just hundredths of a second to separate the three riders, Hondo, Australia's Dylan Newell and Matej Stare on 5.50. Perhaps it was Hondo's finely honed skill of lunging for the line which secured him the podium finish, or maybe it was luck - Newell also threw for the line, but almost came to a crashing halt as his saddle waited until the last possible moment before snapping from the post, which surely cost him a few hundredths of a second, not to mention Praties dream start to the tour.

Either way Hondo was happy to stand on the podium along side two of Asia's best riders.

"It is a nice feeling to come here and experience the hospitality of the people here.

"Five k's was harder than you think before the start, but it was a good prologue, and I hope in the next stages to show myself more at the front."

Hondo has some good form coming into Qinghai - he won a stage and the sprinters classification at the recent Course de Solidarnosc et des Champions Olympiques in Poland, so he will be looking to improve on his third place today.

Even though the Tour of Qinghai Lake tackles some of the highest mountains seen in a bike race doesn't mean that it can't be a sprinters race. The past two editions has seen sprinters take out the majority of the stages of offer. It is a tradition that Hondo no doubt hopes to continue.

"I will win a stage," he said in the typical cocky style of a sprinter. Given he has amassed over 120 wins in his career - most of which were won in sprints - who are we to argue?

One of the first riders to tackle the rather straightforward course was Serhiy Honchar, who not to long ago could be seen racing around France in the familiar yellow jersey of leader of the great race. Showing the familiar rocking style, but not the form which has propelled him to two wins against the clock at the Tour and one world Championship in the same discipline, his effort was not even quick enough to net him best time after just eight riders.

The lead changed several times before the crowd of around 20,000 screaming Chinese cycling fans saw a rider go under the magical six minute mark. Ahad Kazemi Sarai blasted his way to the best time with a 5:54, giving what was possibly the first of many signs that the Iranian Tabriz Petrochemicals had sent their A team to China in a bid to claim the overall title after three near misses,

It would take another former top flight pro to knock the Iranian off his perch, Niklas Axelsson, who has finished as high as 6th overall in the Giro d'Italia, rode just two seconds faster than Kazemi Sari. The Swede's time would stick as leader until Canadian Will Routley (Jelly Belly) knocked a further second from his time.

Routley's time was looking more and more like it was at least good enough for a podium as rider after rider tried but failed to better his time. That was until China's Li Fuyu, who rides for Marco Polo, summoned the collective strength of the Chinese home crowd to better the Canadian's time by three seconds - it was a tall order with 50 riders remaining, but it seemed possible that Fuyu's time might just be enough to clinch the opening stage and leaders jersey.

It was not meant to be, however, but it took the last rider on course to make it known. Prologue specialist Andrey Mizurov, the only foreigner riding for Tabriz Petrochemicals, went into his ride knowing exactly what was needed to deliver the first yellow jersey of the Tour to his employer and he wasn't about to disappoint.

Rounding the final corner with his minute man in sight, it was clear that his ride was going to net him the win, but what was unclear, was by how much.

An incredible time of 5.41 left even the most seasoned pro gasping as Mizurov knocked six seconds off the previous best time. He knew what was needed, and delivered in a similar manner to that of Fabian Cancellara does for his Saxo Bank team.

Full Results
1Andrey Mizurov (Kaz) Petrochemical Tabriz Cycling Team0:05:41 
2Li Fuyu (Chn) Trek - Marco Polo Cycling Team0:00:07 
3Danilo Hondo (Ger) PSK Whirlpool - Author0:00:09 
4Dylan Newell (Aus) Praties  
5Matej Stare (Slo) Slovenia  
6Will Routley (Can) Jelly Belly Cycling Team0:00:10 
7Radoslav Rogina (Cro) Loborika  
8Mariusz Witecki (Pol) Poland0:00:11 
9Darren Lapthorne (Aus) Rapha Condor  
10Niklas Axelsson (Swe) Team Corratec0:00:13 
11Kyle Marwood (Aus) Praties0:00:14 
12Stanislav Kozubek (Cze) PSK Whirlpool - Author0:00:15 
13Ahad Kazemi Sarai (IRI) Petrochemical Tabriz Cycling Team  
14Mitja Mahoric (Slo) Slovenia  
15William Clarke (Aus) Praties0:00:16 
16Kiel Reijnen (USA) Jelly Belly Cycling Team  
17Dmitriy Gruzdev (Kaz) Kazakhstan  
18Tom Southam (GBr) Rapha Condor  
19Hossein Askari (IRI) Petrochemical Tabriz Cycling Team0:00:17 
20James Perry (RSA) Team Stegcomputer - Neotel  
21Lucas Persson (Swe) Team Capinordic  
22Piotr Osinski (Pol) Poland  
23Jure Kocjan (Slo) Slovenia0:00:18 
24Vladimir Kerkez (Slo) Slovenia  
25Phillip Gaimon (USA) Jelly Belly Cycling Team  
26Volodymyr Rybin (Ukr) Ukraine  
27Simon Richardson (GBr) Rapha Condor0:00:19 
28Ghader Mizbani Iranagh (IRI) Petrochemical Tabriz Cycling Team  
29Jeremy Powers (USA) Jelly Belly Cycling Team  
30Sergiy Grechin (Ukr) Ukraine0:00:20 
31Bert Roesems (Bel) Cinelli - Down Under  
32Ma Haijun (Chn) Qinghai Tianyoude Cycling Team  
33Christopher Stevenson (Swe) Team Capinordic  
34Leopold Konig (Cze) PSK Whirlpool - Author  
35Leon Van Bon (Ned) Trek - Marco Polo Cycling Team0:00:21 
36Volodymyr Starchyk (Ukr) Ukraine0:00:22 
37Mateusz Mroz (Pol) Poland  
38Bruno Rizzi (Ita) Team Corratec  
39Bostjan Rezman (Slo) Slovenia  
40Dmitriy Fofonov (Kaz) Kazakhstan  
41Gasper Svab (Slo) Slovenia0:00:24 
42Nick Reistad (USA) Jelly Belly Cycling Team  
43Hossein Jahabanian (IRI) Petrochemical Tabriz Cycling Team  
44Kristian Sobota (Den) Team Capinordic  
45Pawel Cieslik (Pol) Poland  
46Massimo Demarin (Cro) Loborika0:00:25 
47Yevceniy Nepomnyachshiy (Kaz) Kazakhstan  
48Alexandr Shushemoin (Kaz) Kazakhstan  
49Theo Eltink (Ned) Skil-Shimano0:00:26 
50Dan Craven (Nam) Rapha Condor  
51Kristian House (GBr) Rapha Condor  
52Andrea Pagoto (Ita) Team Corratec  
53Kwok Ho Ting (HKg) Hong Kong0:00:27 
54Tiaan Kannemeyer (RSA) Team Stegcomputer - Neotel  
55Sven De Weerdt (Bel) Cinelli - Down Under0:00:28 
56Liu Hao (Chn) Max Success Sports  
57Ji Jianhua (Chn) China  
58Zhang Wenlong (Chn) China  
59Volodymyr Duma (Ukr) Ukraine  
60Frantisek Padour (Cze) PSK Whirlpool - Author0:00:29 
61Tom Veelers (Ned) Skil-Shimano  
62Ben Grenda (Aus) Praties  
63Johann Rabie (RSA) Team Stegcomputer - Neotel  
64Ji Xitao (Chn) China  
65Tomislav Danculovic (Cro) Loborika  
66Petr Bencik (Cze) PSK Whirlpool - Author  
67Anatoliy Pakhtusov (Ukr) Ukraine0:00:30 
68Wu Shengjun (Chn) Qinghai Tianyoude Cycling Team0:00:31 
69Andrej Omulec (Slo) Slovenia  
70Valentin Iglinskiy (Kaz) Kazakhstan  
71Carlo Corra (Ita) Team Corratec  
72Hrvoje Miholjevic (Cro) Loborika0:00:32 
73Liu Biao (Chn) Qinghai Tianyoude Cycling Team  
74Bert De Backer (Bel) Skil-Shimano0:00:33 
75Peter Ronsse (Bel) Cinelli - Down Under  
76Medhi Fahridi Kovij (IRI) Petrochemical Tabriz Cycling Team  
77Adrian Honkisz (Pol) Poland  
78Yevgeniy Sladkov (Kaz) Kazakhstan  
79Niki Ostergaard (Den) Team Capinordic0:00:34 
80Steve Houanard (Fra) Skil-Shimano0:00:35 
81Yeung Ying Hon (HKg) Hong Kong  
82Oleksandr Sheydyk (Ukr) Ukraine0:00:36 
83Jacobus Venter (RSA) Trek - Marco Polo Cycling Team  
84Kristjan Durasek (Cro) Loborika  
85Jacques Janse Van Rensburg (RSA) Trek - Marco Polo Cycling Team  
86Matthew Rice (Aus) Jelly Belly Cycling Team  
87Nathan Earle (Aus) Praties  
88Emiliano Donadello (Ita) Team Corratec  
89Han Feng (Chn) Skil-Shimano  
90Wong Kan Po (HKg) Hong Kong0:00:37 
91Xu Gang (Chn) Max Success Sports  
92Wojciech Dybel (Pol) Poland  
93Darko Blazevic (Cro) Loborika  
94Roger Beuchat (Swi) Team Stegcomputer - Neotel0:00:38 
95David Maree (RSA) Team Stegcomputer - Neotel  
96Chan Chun Hing (HKg) Hong Kong0:00:39 
97Serhiy Honchar (Ukr) Team Corratec  
98Nikola Aistrup (Den) Team Capinordic  
99Logan Dennis Hutchings (NZl) Cinelli - Down Under0:00:41 
100Tang Wang Yip (HKg) Hong Kong  
101Vid Ogris (Slo) Loborika  
102Yuriy Metlushenko (Ukr) Ukraine  
103Jakub Danacik (Cze) PSK Whirlpool - Author0:00:42 
104Sun Lei (Chn) Max Success Sports0:00:43 
105Matthew Green (Aus) Cinelli - Down Under  
106Ben Mather (Aus) Praties  
107Eric Van De Meent (Ned) Trek - Marco Polo Cycling Team  
108Vojtech Dlouhy (Cze) PSK Whirlpool - Author  
109Liu Bo (Chn) China  
110Jiao Pengda (Chn) Qinghai Tianyoude Cycling Team0:00:44 
111Tigran Korkotyan (Arm) Team Stegcomputer - Neotel  
112Hui Guo (Chn) Max Success Sports0:00:45 
113Liu Yilin (Chn) Trek - Marco Polo Cycling Team  
114Zhao Yujian (Chn) Max Success Sports0:00:46 
115Tu Yue (Chn) Qinghai Tianyoude Cycling Team  
116Liu Peng (Chn) China  
117Nolan Hoffman (RSA) Team Stegcomputer - Neotel0:00:47 
118Nazar Jumabekov (Kaz) Kazakhstan  
119Cheung King Wai (HKg) Hong Kong0:00:48 
120Cheng Ji (Chn) Skil-Shimano  
121Wang Meiyin (Chn) Trek - Marco Polo Cycling Team  
122Dong Xiaoyong (Chn) Qinghai Tianyoude Cycling Team  
123Andreas Linden (Swe) Team Capinordic0:00:49 
124Michael Fitzgerald (Aus) Cinelli - Down Under0:00:52 
125Lukasz Osiecki (Pol) Poland0:00:53 
126Song Baoqing (Chn) China0:00:54 
127Zhang Ruisong (Chn) Max Success Sports  
128Ben Grieve-Johnson (Aus) Praties  
129Jiang Xueli (Chn) China0:00:58 
130Ko Siu Wai (HKg) Hong Kong0:00:59 
131Wei Kui (Chn) Qinghai Tianyoude Cycling Team  
132Liam Holohan (GBr) Rapha Condor0:01:01 
133Christopher D'Amelio (Aus) Cinelli - Down Under0:01:05 
134Morten Hoberg (Den) Team Capinordic0:01:06 
135Zhang Hui (Chn) Max Success Sports0:01:07 
136Chiang Chun Te (Tpe) Giant Asia Racing Team  
137Lai Kuan Hua (Tpe) Giant Asia Racing Team0:01:09 
138Adam Wadecki (Pol) Team Corratec0:01:12 
139Peng Kuei Hsiang (Tpe) Giant Asia Racing Team  
140Chang Wei Kei (Tpe) Giant Asia Racing Team0:01:15 
141Huang Yen Lin (Tpe) Giant Asia Racing Team0:01:37 
142Yukihiro Doi (Jpn) Skil-Shimano  
DNSBen Greenwood (GBr) Rapha Condor  
General classification after prologue
1Andrey Mizurov (Kaz) Petrochemical Tabriz Cycling Team0:05:41 
2Li Fuyu (Chn) Trek - Marco Polo Cycling Team0:00:07 
3Danilo Hondo (Ger) PSK Whirlpool - Author0:00:09 
4Dylan Newell (Aus) Praties  
5Matej Stare (Slo) Slovenia  
6Will Routley (Can) Jelly Belly Cycling Team0:00:10 
7Radoslav Rogina (Cro) Loborika  
8Mariusz Witecki (Pol) Poland0:00:11 
9Darren Lapthorne (Aus) Rapha Condor  
10Niklas Axelsson (Swe) Team Corratec0:00:13 
11Kyle Marwood (Aus) Praties0:00:14 
12Stanislav Kozubek (Cze) PSK Whirlpool - Author0:00:15 
13Ahad Kazemi Sarai (IRI) Petrochemical Tabriz Cycling Team  
14Mitja Mahoric (Slo) Slovenia  
15William Clarke (Aus) Praties0:00:16 
16Kiel Reijnen (USA) Jelly Belly Cycling Team  
17Dmitriy Gruzdev (Kaz) Kazakhstan  
18Tom Southam (GBr) Rapha Condor  
19Hossein Askari (IRI) Petrochemical Tabriz Cycling Team0:00:17 
20James Perry (RSA) Team Stegcomputer - Neotel  
21Lucas Persson (Swe) Team Capinordic  
22Piotr Osinski (Pol) Poland  
23Jure Kocjan (Slo) Slovenia0:00:18 
24Vladimir Kerkez (Slo) Slovenia  
25Phillip Gaimon (USA) Jelly Belly Cycling Team  
26Volodymyr Rybin (Ukr) Ukraine  
27Simon Richardson (GBr) Rapha Condor0:00:19 
28Ghader Mizbani Iranagh (IRI) Petrochemical Tabriz Cycling Team  
29Jeremy Powers (USA) Jelly Belly Cycling Team  
30Sergiy Grechin (Ukr) Ukraine0:00:20 
31Bert Roesems (Bel) Cinelli - Down Under  
32Ma Haijun (Chn) Qinghai Tianyoude Cycling Team  
33Christopher Stevenson (Swe) Team Capinordic  
34Leopold Konig (Cze) PSK Whirlpool - Author  
35Leon Van Bon (Ned) Trek - Marco Polo Cycling Team0:00:21 
36Volodymyr Starchyk (Ukr) Ukraine0:00:22 
37Mateusz Mroz (Pol) Poland  
38Bruno Rizzi (Ita) Team Corratec  
39Bostjan Rezman (Slo) Slovenia  
40Dmitriy Fofonov (Kaz) Kazakhstan  
41Gasper Svab (Slo) Slovenia0:00:24 
42Nick Reistad (USA) Jelly Belly Cycling Team  
43Hossein Jahabanian (IRI) Petrochemical Tabriz Cycling Team  
44Kristian Sobota (Den) Team Capinordic  
45Pawel Cieslik (Pol) Poland  
46Massimo Demarin (Cro) Loborika0:00:25 
47Yevceniy Nepomnyachshiy (Kaz) Kazakhstan  
48Alexandr Shushemoin (Kaz) Kazakhstan  
49Theo Eltink (Ned) Skil-Shimano0:00:26 
50Dan Craven (Nam) Rapha Condor  
51Kristian House (GBr) Rapha Condor  
52Andrea Pagoto (Ita) Team Corratec  
53Kwok Ho Ting (HKg) Hong Kong0:00:27 
54Tiaan Kannemeyer (RSA) Team Stegcomputer - Neotel  
55Sven De Weerdt (Bel) Cinelli - Down Under0:00:28 
56Liu Hao (Chn) Max Success Sports  
57Ji Jianhua (Chn) China  
58Zhang Wenlong (Chn) China  
59Volodymyr Duma (Ukr) Ukraine  
60Frantisek Padour (Cze) PSK Whirlpool - Author0:00:29 
61Tom Veelers (Ned) Skil-Shimano  
62Ben Grenda (Aus) Praties  
63Johann Rabie (RSA) Team Stegcomputer - Neotel  
64Ji Xitao (Chn) China  
65Tomislav Danculovic (Cro) Loborika  
66Petr Bencik (Cze) PSK Whirlpool - Author  
67Anatoliy Pakhtusov (Ukr) Ukraine0:00:30 
68Wu Shengjun (Chn) Qinghai Tianyoude Cycling Team0:00:31 
69Andrej Omulec (Slo) Slovenia  
70Valentin Iglinskiy (Kaz) Kazakhstan  
71Carlo Corra (Ita) Team Corratec  
72Hrvoje Miholjevic (Cro) Loborika0:00:32 
73Liu Biao (Chn) Qinghai Tianyoude Cycling Team  
74Bert De Backer (Bel) Skil-Shimano0:00:33 
75Peter Ronsse (Bel) Cinelli - Down Under  
76Medhi Fahridi Kovij (IRI) Petrochemical Tabriz Cycling Team  
77Adrian Honkisz (Pol) Poland  
78Yevgeniy Sladkov (Kaz) Kazakhstan  
79Niki Ostergaard (Den) Team Capinordic0:00:34 
80Steve Houanard (Fra) Skil-Shimano0:00:35 
81Yeung Ying Hon (HKg) Hong Kong  
82Oleksandr Sheydyk (Ukr) Ukraine0:00:36 
83Jacobus Venter (RSA) Trek - Marco Polo Cycling Team  
84Kristjan Durasek (Cro) Loborika  
85Jacques Janse Van Rensburg (RSA) Trek - Marco Polo Cycling Team  
86Matthew Rice (Aus) Jelly Belly Cycling Team  
87Nathan Earle (Aus) Praties  
88Emiliano Donadello (Ita) Team Corratec  
89Han Feng (Chn) Skil-Shimano  
90Wong Kan Po (HKg) Hong Kong0:00:37 
91Xu Gang (Chn) Max Success Sports  
92Wojciech Dybel (Pol) Poland  
93Darko Blazevic (Cro) Loborika  
94Roger Beuchat (Swi) Team Stegcomputer - Neotel0:00:38 
95David Maree (RSA) Team Stegcomputer - Neotel  
96Chan Chun Hing (HKg) Hong Kong0:00:39 
97Serhiy Honchar (Ukr) Team Corratec  
98Nikola Aistrup (Den) Team Capinordic  
99Logan Dennis Hutchings (NZl) Cinelli - Down Under0:00:41 
100Tang Wang Yip (HKg) Hong Kong  
101Vid Ogris (Slo) Loborika  
102Yuriy Metlushenko (Ukr) Ukraine  
103Jakub Danacik (Cze) PSK Whirlpool - Author0:00:42 
104Sun Lei (Chn) Max Success Sports0:00:43 
105Matthew Green (Aus) Cinelli - Down Under  
106Ben Mather (Aus) Praties  
107Eric Van De Meent (Ned) Trek - Marco Polo Cycling Team  
108Vojtech Dlouhy (Cze) PSK Whirlpool - Author  
109Liu Bo (Chn) China  
110Jiao Pengda (Chn) Qinghai Tianyoude Cycling Team0:00:44 
111Tigran Korkotyan (Arm) Team Stegcomputer - Neotel  
112Hui Guo (Chn) Max Success Sports0:00:45 
113Liu Yilin (Chn) Trek - Marco Polo Cycling Team  
114Zhao Yujian (Chn) Max Success Sports0:00:46 
115Tu Yue (Chn) Qinghai Tianyoude Cycling Team  
116Liu Peng (Chn) China  
117Nolan Hoffman (RSA) Team Stegcomputer - Neotel0:00:47 
118Nazar Jumabekov (Kaz) Kazakhstan  
119Cheung King Wai (HKg) Hong Kong0:00:48 
120Cheng Ji (Chn) Skil-Shimano  
121Wang Meiyin (Chn) Trek - Marco Polo Cycling Team  
122Dong Xiaoyong (Chn) Qinghai Tianyoude Cycling Team  
123Andreas Linden (Swe) Team Capinordic0:00:49 
124Michael Fitzgerald (Aus) Cinelli - Down Under0:00:52 
125Lukasz Osiecki (Pol) Poland0:00:53 
126Song Baoqing (Chn) China0:00:54 
127Zhang Ruisong (Chn) Max Success Sports  
128Ben Grieve-Johnson (Aus) Praties  
129Jiang Xueli (Chn) China0:00:58 
130Ko Siu Wai (HKg) Hong Kong0:00:59 
131Wei Kui (Chn) Qinghai Tianyoude Cycling Team  
132Liam Holohan (GBr) Rapha Condor0:01:01 
133Christopher D'Amelio (Aus) Cinelli - Down Under0:01:05 
134Morten Hoberg (Den) Team Capinordic0:01:06 
135Zhang Hui (Chn) Max Success Sports0:01:07 
136Chiang Chun Te (Tpe) Giant Asia Racing Team  
137Lai Kuan Hua (Tpe) Giant Asia Racing Team0:01:09 
138Adam Wadecki (Pol) Team Corratec0:01:12 
139Peng Kuei Hsiang (Tpe) Giant Asia Racing Team  
140Chang Wei Kei (Tpe) Giant Asia Racing Team0:01:15 
141Huang Yen Lin (Tpe) Giant Asia Racing Team0:01:37 
142Yukihiro Doi (Jpn) Skil-Shimano  
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