He outsprinted the up-and-coming Australian Brenton Jones of Drapac and France’s Benjamin Giraud of Marseille 13-KTM. The Italian also took over from his compatriot Andrea Palini in the lead of the overall classification.
“It was a long and hot day,” said Modolo at the finish line in Chengmai. “There wasn’t any difference in altitude but racing after 200km always puts us in the unknown. But the slightly uphill finish perfectly suited my characteristics. I was confident because I feel good these days.
"I’ve taken advantage of the Drapac team. I’ve noticed they are well organised and they have a few more guys than us for the lead out. At some stage I’ve seen one adversary trying to pass me but I knew I was fast and it would be difficult for anyone to beat me today.”
Ukraine’s Andriy Khripta was the last breakaway rider to be reeled in with 20km to go. Earlier on, Zamri Salleh (Terengganu), Tomas Vaitkus (Rietumu-Delfin) and Abdullojon Akparov (Beijing Innova) accompanied him at the front with a maximum advantage of 11 minutes 55 seconds.
Most importantly, top Chinese cyclist Wang Meiyin of Hengxiang was also part of the move and won the two hot spot sprints. Succeeding his team-mate Ma Guangtong in the lead of the best Asian rider competition, he declared: “My move wasn’t intentional, I just happened to be there when the break went even though I can feel that the European teams look at me more now than in previous years.”
According to the tactics of Hengxiang’s team manager Li Fuyu, Wang was supposed to remain quiet until the hilly stages but he’s already got a six-second lead over the other GC favorites.
The race’s scenario might be slightly different with Modolo in the yellow jersey. “Instead of following wheels, it’ll be up to us to set the pace of the bunch,” the Italian said. “We might have to burn a few guys but we’re getting closer to the hillier stages for which our designated leader is Valerio Conti.”
All first four stages have been won by Italian sprinters, namely Palini and Modolo, but every day new riders occupy the first and second places at the prize giving ceremony. “It’s been a long day on the bike," Jones commented. “We thought it would be more aggressive but after 25km, it was easy. I kept eating, drinking, looking after myself and getting the team together for the finish. We were strong enough to hold it until the very end of this long stage. It’s nice to see a developing team performing against established teams, so I’m looking forward to the rest of the Tour and next year as well.”
For Giraud it was a comeback on the podium after a difficult season hampered by an intestine fungal infection. “It took me a long time to be healthy again,” the Frenchman informed. “But I’ve got great legs now. The Tour of Hainan is one of the very few Asian races I’ve taken part in without winning a stage so I’m hoping to get one soon.”
|#||Rider Name (Country) Team||Result|
|1||Sacha Modolo (Ita) Lampre-Merida||5:41:28|
|2||Brenton Jones (Aus) Drapac Professional Cycling|
|3||Benjamin Giraud (Fra) Team Marseille 13 KTM|
|4||Andrea Palini (Ita) Skydive Dubai Pro Cycling Team|
|5||Eduard Michael Grosu (Rom) Nippo - Vini Fantini|
|6||Martijn Verschoor (Ned) Team Novo Nordisk|
|7||Fabio Silvestre (Por) Trek Factory Racing|
|8||Daniele Colli (Ita) Nippo - Vini Fantini|
|9||Ruslan Tleubayev (Kaz) Astana Pro Team|
|10||Evaldas Siskevicius (Ltu) Team Marseille 13 KTM|
|#||Rider Name (Country) Team||Result|
|1||Sacha Modolo (Ita) Lampre-Merida||14:57:39|
|2||Andrea Palini (Ita) Skydive Dubai Pro Cycling Team||0:00:09|
|3||Roberto Ferrari (Ita) Lampre-Merida||0:00:23|
|4||Vitaliy Buts (Ukr) Kolss Cycling Team|
|5||Brenton Jones (Aus) Drapac Professional Cycling|
|6||Jakub Mareczko (Ita) Southeast Pro Cycling|
|7||Meiyin Wang (Chn) Hengxiang Cycling Team|
|8||Brad Evans (NZl) Drapac Professional Cycling||0:00:24|
|9||Ma Guangtong (Chn) Hengxiang Cycling Team|
|10||Eduard Michael Grosu (Rom) Nippo - Vini Fantini||0:00:25|