Groves claims first UCI victory on stage 3

18-year-old Australian beats Bogdanovics and Kononenko

If he becomes Australia’s next top sprinter after Caleb Ewan, Kaden Groves will always keep stage 3 of the Tour of Fuzhou as his first ever UCI victory. The 18-year-old from Gympie in Queensland, who races for St-George continental under Olympic medallist Brett Dutton, won a bunch gallop ahead of the first two stage winners, Latvia’s Maris Bogdanovics (Rietumu Bank) and Mykhaylo Kononenko (Kolss).

The latter increased his lead in the overall classification by four seconds through the time bonuses on the finishing line.

"After yesterday, I was super keen to have another sprint stage," Groves told Cyclingnews on Lianjiang People's Square. "I had to be in the right position. I can't thank my teammates enough for getting me there. When I saw yesterday's winner in the green jersey and the yellow jersey from Kolss, I knew they were the wheels to follow. I got out at about 200 metres to go, which is what I like to do."

The Australian champion for road racing in the U19 category took up cycling two and half years ago, coming from motorbike racing – like Michael Matthews. He's a muscular sprinter. "It comes from track cycling and the gym," he explained. "On the track I ride the team pursuit for the Queensland team with [individual world champion] Jordan Kirby. I like to think that I have a future in both track and road cycling but at the moment, I'm really enjoying the road. I aim at taking part in bigger races."

Bogdanovics explained his defeat by the headwind he faced after getting a lead out but also by the amazing explosivity of the young Australian. "He came out of my wheel very fast," the Latvian noted. "I lost by half of a wheel. I didn't expect the headwind but second is not a bad result."

It was a hilly stage at the start, which enabled Stanislau Bazhkou (Minsk) to increase his lead in the KOM competition. The four-man breakaway formed of Lu Shao Hsuan (Gusto), Rostyslav Zhukovskiy (ISD-Jorbi), Micheal Habtom (Eritrea) and Steven Cuesta (Hainan Jilun) was caught with five kilometres to go.

"I'm also hoping to win the queen stage tomorrow and the overall classification," Bazhkou said. "But there are other guys who can climb well. Kononenko took four seconds bonus but for sure he'll get dropped on that climb, it's too hard for him."

After Groves, other young guns are expected to shine in Yun Ding, namely Drew Morey (Terengganu TSG), Jai Hindley (Mitchelton-Scott) and Fung Ka Hoo, a pure climber from Hong Kong who is only 20 years of age while pre-race favorite Yonattan Monsalve (Qinghai Tianyoude) has 1:45 to make up.

Brief Results

#Rider Name (Country) TeamResult
1Kaden Groves (Aus) St George Continental Cycling Team2:52:21 
2Maris Bogdanovics (Lat) Rietumu Banka - Riga  
3Mykhaylo Kononenko (Ukr) Kolss Cycling Team  
4Hsuan Ping Hsu (Tpe) Action Cycling Team  
5Zhiwen Chen (Chn) Giant Cycling Team  
6Yonnatta Alejandro Monsalve Pertsinidis (Ven) Qinghai Tianyoude Cycling Team  
7Hayato Okamoto (Jpn) Aisan Racing Team  
8Stanislau Bazhkou (Blr) Minsk Cycling Club  
9Muhammad Ameer Ahmad Kamal (Mas) Malaysia  
10Kevin Daniel Rios Quintana (Col) Hainan Jilun Cycling Team  
General Classification after stage 3
#Rider Name (Country) TeamResult
1Mykhaylo Kononenko (Ukr) Kolss Cycling Team8:07:48 
2Stanislau Bazhkou (Blr) Minsk Cycling Club0:00:08 
3Andriy Vasylyuk (Ukr) Kolss Cycling Team0:00:14 
4Drew Morey (Aus) Terengganu Cycling Team0:00:16 
5Jai Hindley (Aus) Mitchelton Scott0:00:20 
6Francisco Jarley Colorado Hernandez (Col) Ningxia Sports Lottery - Livall Cycling Team  
7Ka Hoo Fung (HKg) Hong Kong, China  
8Anatoliy Budyak (Ukr) ISD - Jorbi Continental Team0:00:26 
9Hiu Fung Choy (HKg) Hong Kong, China0:00:53 
10Andrii Bratashchuk (Ukr) Kolss Cycling Team0:00:56 

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