Mareczko strikes for the first time at the Tour of Hainan

Young Italian beats Palini and Modolo

The sixth bunch sprint finish of the Tour of Hainan saw a fourth different winner on Sunday as 21 year old Italian neo-pro Jakub Mareczko of Southeast claimed his first professional victory. Mareczko followed on from Andrea Palini, Sacha Modolo and Benjamin Giraud, who had taken the previous sprints on Chinese island. Modolo retained the overall lead with an advantage of nine seconds over Palini.

"I really wanted this first win after I failed in the first two stages due to crashing," Mareczko said. "I came third on stage three but I was still missing the top spot. I’m happy. Since day one, my team believed in me and they kept believing in me until I achieved it. This victory means a lot to me. I’ve had some time at home to gear up for the Chinese races. After Hainan, I’ll do Taihu as well. I’m improving. At the beginning of the season, at Le Tour de Langkawi in Malaysia, I was close to winning for the first time in HC race [he has been twice second and third]. Now I’ve made it but I don’t want to stop here. I’m hoping for more before I return to Europe."

Mareczko’s four previous victories were acquired at category 2 level at the Vuelta Tachira and Vuelta Venezuela. The the Tour of Hainan is 2.HC level, with several WorldTour teams also in action.

In the sprint finish in Sanya, Mareczko was led out by Southeast teammate Andrea Dal Col. He was smart enough to wait till the last minute after Drapac led the field in the run in to the final sprint with a curve 700 metres before the line. Modolo looked to have taken a good advantage of the Australian again before his young compatriot passed him. Palini completed the fully Italian podium.

"There’s not much to explain," Modolo commented. "I sprinted like the other times, starting 200 metres before the line, but I didn’t know there would be a head wind to finish with. I was surprised. I feel sorry for my team after the amount of work they’ve done."

Mareczko added that he was also unaware of the head wind.

"I won because I was in a really good shape today," said the Polish-born Italian sprinter who lives in Raffa di Puegnago near Lake Garda. "The crashes didn’t affect me too much. I got cured. I’m not in pain anymore. I just have some bruises left."

The first part of stage 6 included three categorized hills but the sprinters again came out on top.

Julien El Farès of Marseille 13-KTM was first to the summit of the climbs and took the first polka dot jersey of the Tour of Hainan. He and his teammate Rémy Di Gregorio indicated their ambitions for the tough queen stage on the penultimate day of the race.

Best Asian rider Ma Guangtong of Hengxiang increased his lead as he took two more seconds bonus through a breakaway that put his compatriot Niu Yikui in the spotlight.

The 21-year-old member of the local team Hainan Yindongi-Wildto was the last escapee to surrender with only four kilometre to go. A runner up at the Chinese national championship last year, he hails from Heilongjiang like Giant-Alpecin rider Ji Cheng and describes the first Chinese to have completed the Tour de France (in 2014) his brother.

Results

#Rider Name (Country) TeamResult
1Jakub Mareczko (Ita) Southeast Pro Cycling4:21:26 
2Andrea Palini (Ita) Skydive Dubai Pro Cycling Team  
3Sacha Modolo (Ita) Lampre-Merida  
4Benjamin Giraud (Fra) Team Marseille 13 KTM  
5Grzegorz Stepniak (Pol) CCC Sprandi Polkowice  
6Eduard Michael Grosu (Rom) Nippo - Vini Fantini  
7Fabio Silvestre (Por) Trek Factory Racing  
8Ruslan Tleubayev (Kaz) Astana Pro Team  
9Hariff Salleh (Mas) Terengganu Cycling Team  
10Andrea Dal Col (Ita) Southeast Pro Cycling  
General Classification after stage 6
#Rider Name (Country) TeamResult
1Sacha Modolo (Ita) Lampre-Merida23:51:59 
2Andrea Palini (Ita) Skydive Dubai Pro Cycling Team0:00:09 
3Benjamin Giraud (Fra) Team Marseille 13 KTM0:00:22 
4Jakub Mareczko (Ita) Southeast Pro Cycling0:00:23 
5Vitaliy Buts (Ukr) UKR0:00:27 
6Ma Guangtong China Hengxiang Cycling Team  
7Roberto Ferrari (Ita) Lampre-Merida0:00:33 
8Ruslan Tleubayev (Kaz) Astana Pro Team  
9Brenton Jones (Aus) Drapac Professional Cycling  
10Meiyin Wang China Hengxiang Cycling Team  

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