Dylan Page of the Swiss national team took over from Jakub Mareczko in the lead of the Tour of Hainan after coming second in the bunch sprint finish for the second straight day. This time around, the fastest was Germany's Lucas Carstensen of Bike Aid.
"It's been a very tight sprint with four guys inside one meter," Carstensen described. "I jumped on the back wheel of a guy who sprinted a bit early and I managed to pass him in the last ten meters of the race. I had a crash earlier on but with no damage and it had no effect on my sprinting. This is the biggest victory I ever had. Being a member of a continental team, we can't get any bigger start than in a HC race like the Tour of Hainan. It's really great for me to win here."
12 riders managed to go clear after one hour of intense racing: Luca Pacioni (Wilier Triestina), Luca Wackermann (Bardiani CSF), Nathan Elliott (Bennelong-Swisswellness), Clément Carisey (Israel Cycling Academy), Antonio Santoro and Peter Schulting (Monkey Town), Mauricio Ortega (Ningxia-Livall), Simon Pellaud (Switzerland), Robbie Hucker (Ukyo), Patrick Schelling (Vorarlberg-Santic), Fausto Masnada (Androni Giocattoli-Sidermec) and Gatis Smukulis (Delko Marseille-Provence KTM).
Schulting out-sprinted Pacioni at the only classified climb in Chengmai at km 67 before the loop to the northern coast of Hainan. Masnada won the first intermediate sprint at km 76.7 and rode away with Pellaud at the second one at km 98.8.
Wilier Triestina took the command of the peloton with two riders before Bardiani CSF's Mirco Maestri came in help but Masnada and Pellaud kept their advantage of 1:30 from 30km to go to 10km to the end. The duo at the front was very efficient but they faced a headwind at the end and lost any hope of winning the stage when they were swallowed by the peloton 150 metres before the line. Mareczko gave up under the flamme rouge as he was suffering from the heat.
"We have a very strong team and we have wanted to show it in putting our train together in the last kilometre," Page explained. "We knew there was the risk of launching the sprint too early and it would come back from behind. That's what happened. My lead out man Fabian Lienhard gave the way 250 metres before the line. One rider passed me. It's always hard to jump on someone's wheel that's already busy. We had Pellaud and Masnada in sight. It was sure we'd catch them so I tried to speed up again when we overtook them. It came down to the last 50 metres. I threw my bike to the line. It was hard to tell who had won.
"I'm second but the good news is that I become the race leader. I don't have the victory I'm looking for in Hainan yet but a yellow jersey is always beautiful. We'll do our best with the team to retain the lead, hoping that the yellow jersey will boost the Swiss team because our goal is to win a stage or two. It would be even better to win with the yellow jersey than the green jersey I had today."
Stage 3 from Chengmai to Qionghai will be the longest of the Tour of Hainan with 231.8km.
|#||Rider Name (Country) Team||Result|
|1||Lucas Carstensen (Ger) Bike Aid||3:05:51|
|2||Dylan Page (Swi) Switzerland|
|3||Raymond Kreder (Ned) Team Ukyo|
|4||Andrea Guardini (Ita) Bardiani CSF|
|5||Brenton Jones (Aus) Delko Marseille Provence KTM|
|6||Marco Benfatto (Ita) Androni Giocattoli-Sidermec|
|7||Jannik Steimle (Ger) Team Vorarlberg Santic|
|8||Imerio Cima (Ita) Nippo-Vini Fantini-Europa Ovini|
|9||Guillaume Boivin (Can) Israel Cycling Academy|
|10||Joeri Stallaert (Bel) Team Vorarlberg Santic|
|#||Rider Name (Country) Team||Result|
|1||Dylan Page (Swi) Switzerland||5:08:19|
|2||Lucas Carstensen (Ger) Bike Aid||0:00:02|
|3||Raymond Kreder (Ned) Team Ukyo||0:00:08|
|4||Manuel Belletti (Ita) Androni Giocattoli-Sidermec|
|5||Zheng Zhang (Chn) Hengxiang Cycling Team||0:00:09|
|6||Fausto Masnada (Ita) Androni Giocattoli-Sidermec|
|7||Patrick Schelling (Swi) Team Vorarlberg Santic|
|8||Peter Schulting (Ned) Monkey Town Continental Team||0:00:10|
|9||Ivar Slik (Ned) Monkey Town Continental Team|
|10||Luca Wackermann (Ita) Bardiani CSF||0:00:11|