Ukraine’s Yehor Dementyev of Continental team ISD-Jorbi claimed stage 1 of the inaugural Tour of Shanghai on Friday as he outsprinted Italian Massimo Graziato from Parkhotel-Valkenburg, with third place going to Amirul Marzuki of the Malaysian team Terengganu.
Although the event is not yet part of the UCI calendar - but features professional cyclists from sixteen nations - this is Dementyev’s first international victory besides the fame he got from being a multiple Paralympic champion after a car accident in 2011.
“My sprint today was almost a remake of the road race at the Rio Games,” Dementyev told Cyclingnews on the shores of Dishui Lake. “The difference is that I crashed two metres before the line in Brazil and here I won. I’m glad I won. I had the feeling that our breakaway was going to get caught.”
Dementyev was part of a 22-man leading group for most of the stage and rode away solo with 6km to go. Graziato and Canada’s Sean Mackinnon rejoined him at the 4km mark. Koreans Daeyoung Joo and Kyeongho Min, who became the best Asian rider after he won an intermediate sprint and came second in another one, were the most active to bring the rest of the breakaway back.
They almost did it but, surprisingly, Marzuki was the only rider to jump from the group to the leading trio just before the sprint. It was a smart move by the Malaysian who wasn’t caught out by the cold weather conditions in Shanghai.
Graziato was upset by the way he got beaten in the sprint. “The sprint hasn’t been correct”, the Italian reacted. “The winner cut the road in front of me. The judges say it’s fine but I don’t think so. However, there’s another stage to make it up and bring the yellow jersey home tomorrow. We’re the strongest team here.”
Dementyev will have a hard time defending the lead on stage 2 in the centre of Shanghai. He was a promising rider with ISD-Continental in 2009 and 2010 before he was victim of a car accident that left him paralysed. He hasn’t fully recovered so he switched to para-cycling. He won the road race and time trial in his category at the London Paralympic Games in 2012 and more recently the 4km individual pursuit and the time trial in Rio de Janeiro - but not the road race due to this crash at the very end.