Simon Pellaud of the Swiss national team brilliantly won the final stage of the 13th Tour of Hainan with a solo move in the last three kilometres. The win banished painful memories of his near-miss on stage 2, and it was the same for his breakaway companion that day, Fausto Masnada (Androni-Giocattoli), who finished safely in the peloton here to seal the overall title.
"This was my third breakaway during the Tour of Hainan. On stage 2, Masnada and myself got caught just before the finishing line. I'm really happy with the outcome today," Pellaud said.
"I still had a great motivation to break away today. Androni didn't really want to bring the peloton back on us. I was more than two minutes down on GC. There was a great cooperation in the breakaway. Alan Marangoni kept telling us to ride smart and ride hard. It's the best way to finish the season."
It took 40 kilometres for the breakaway to be formed after many skirmishes. Lorenzo Rota (Bardiani CSF), Jason Lea (Bennelong-Swisswellness), Harry Sweeny (Mitchelton-BikeExchange), Peter Schulting (Monkey Town), Edwin Parra (Ningxia-Livall), Marangoni (Nippo-Vini Fantini) and Pellaud (Swiss national team) were the riders involved.
Schulting was highly motivated as this was the last race of his pro career, which was also the case also for Belarus' Ilya Koshevoy of Wilier Triestina. Marangoni only has the 1.2 Tour de Okinawa in Japan (November 11) left on his calendar but he was logically designated the most active rider of the day. Those highly motivated riders had a maximum advantage of 1:30 with 70km to go but it was enough due to their strong commitment.
Pellaud rode away solo 2km before the finish and celebrated a very well-deserved victory at the end of an active nine days of racing. He broke away three times during the Tour of Hainan, while also working for teammates, defending Dylan Page's yellow jersey for three days as well as working for stage 6 winner Gino Mäder, who was the big revelation of the event and finished second overall to Masnada.
Pellaud and Masnada were the two attackers who were swallowed by the peloton 150 metres before the end of stage 2, the day that GC contenders went on the offensive without waiting for the hilly stages. It was cruel, but they both got a worthy reward at the very end of an interesting Tour of Hainan.
"The Tour of Hainan is my first important victory as a pro rider", Masnada acknowledged. "It's been a very challenging race. I'm very happy with what I achieved here. We came for winning but winning is never easy. It's a confidence booster for next year to have bagged this win here. I always try to improve my cycling and I hope to step up again next season."
Pellaud and Masnada were both born on November 6 but with a one-year difference as the Swiss is from 1992 and the Italian from 1993. Pellaud had a stint in the WorldTour with IAM Cycling and rode the Vuelta a España in 2015 and 2016 before he joined US-registered Team Illuminate and settled down in Colombia. He won the queen stage of the Tour of Rwanda last year.
Masnada was a super talent of Italian cycling as he came sixth in the 2012 Giro della valle d'Aosta - won by Fabio Aru - at the age of only 18 but he got a bit lost until Androni manager Gianni Savio gave him a chance last year and he finished third in the Presidential Tour of Turkey.
Mäder is the other up-and-coming pro rider who made a big impact on the 13th Tour of Hainan by winning stage 6 to Wuzhishan and finishing second overall. His future lies with Dimension Data after he finished third at the Tour de l'Avenir with two stage wins and then fourth at the U23 World Championships road race.
But perhaps the biggest coup came from an absolute rookie. 20-year-old mountain biker Lyu Xianjing of the Hengxiang team - based in the Shandong province and run by former Discovery Channel and RadioShack rider Li Fuyu - finished fifth overall, King of the Mountains and best Asian rider - all in his first ever international road race.
"Nine days ago, before coming to the Tour of Hainan, I only knew a little bit about road cycling, but I've trained hard for this", he said.
Has the world of cycling finally discovered a Chinese super talent?
|#||Rider Name (Country) Team||Result|
|1||Simon Pellaud (Swi) Switzerland||4:10:53|
|2||Peter Schulting (Ned) Monkey Town||0:00:05|
|3||Lorenzo Rota (Ita) Bardiani CSF|
|4||Alan Marangoni (Ita) Nippo-Vini Fantini-Europa Ovini|
|5||Edwin Arnulfo Parra Bustamante (Col) Ningxia Sports Lottery Livall|
|6||Harrison Sweeny (Aus) Mitchelton-Bikeexchange|
|7||Jakub Mareczko (Ita) Wilier Triestina-Selle Italia||0:00:10|
|8||Andrea Guardini (Ita) Bardiani CSF|
|9||Imerio Cima (Ita) Nippo-Vini Fantini-Europa Ovini|
|10||Luca Pacioni (Ita) Wilier Triestina-Selle Italia|
|#||Rider Name (Country) Team||Result|
|1||Fausto Masnada (Ita) Androni Giocattoli-Sidermec||35:27:21|
|2||Gino Mader (Swi) Switzerland||0:00:02|
|3||Julien El Fares (Fra) Delko Marseille Provence KTM||0:00:10|
|4||Patrick Schelling (Swi) Team Vorarlberg Santic||0:00:56|
|5||Xianjing Lyu (Chn) Hengxiang||0:00:59|
|6||Benjami Prades Reverter (Spa) Team Ukyo||0:01:02|
|7||Simone Velasco (Ita) Wilier Triestina-Selle Italia||0:01:11|
|8||Matteo Badilatti (Swi) Team Vorarlberg Santic||0:01:12|
|9||Rodrigo Araque Lorente (Spa) Team Ukyo||0:01:19|
|10||Roland Thalmann (Swi) Team Vorarlberg Santic||0:01:20|