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Ukraine veteran wins after suffering against Belkin in Hainan
Frustrated by the domination of the Belkin team at the Tour of Hainan, Yuriy Metlushenko quickly made amends at the Tour of Taihu Lake after swapping the Ukrainian jersey for that of his Turkish trade team Torku Seker Spor.
But he faced fierce competition from a rider who is almost half his age, as 19 year old Jesse Kerrison from Australian team Budget Forklifts came close to beating him in the first bunch sprint finish of the Chinese - his first ever trip overseas.
“This is my first UCI race, it’s unbelievable how fast it went and how messy it was at the finish”, Kerrison told Cyclingnews at the end of stage 1 contested at an average speed of 49.77km/h.
“All the way through the stage, it was very active. In the sprint, I didn’t have the legs to get around but I’m really happy. It’s a fun race. I’ve only done the NRS (National Road Series) so far. It’s amazing to race in front of big crowds!”
Kerrison’s astonishment was just as big as Metlushenko’s joy.
“Finally I get my first victory of the year”, said the Ukrainian with a hint of relief.
“At the Tour of Hainan, sportingly speaking, the Belkin team pissed me off. I’ve often come first behind them [six times in the top 10]. Today I owe my victory to the support of my team, especially Sergey Grechin who led me out and rode exceptionally well during the whole last kilometre. I only had to work for 300metres. Czech team Dukla Praha was again very strong at this race [with third placed Jiri Hochman] and Boris Shpilevski is also a fast sprinter but any sprinter needs a team for winning. Even though we’re at the end of the season, I feel a lot of emotion with this victory.”
“The race was incredible”, Metlushenko continued. “There were attacks and counter attacks [especially from lone attackers, successively Jonathan Breyne and Christophe Prémont, both from Crelan-Euphony]. With ten kilometers to go, I’ve told my teammates that we had to control the race from then on. Being the captain, I’ve asked my teammate Ahmet Örken to do his own sprint with the aim of getting him in the lead of the best young rider classification because I’m also here to make improve.”
With Kerrison 19, the 20 year old Turkish rider from Konya, who finished fourth, will have to wait for another chance to become the best young rider of the Tour of Taihu Lake.
The young Queenslander from Surfers Paradise gained his speed from track cycling against the star of his age group Caleb Ewan. He has already developed a passion for racing in the crosswinds and he might get an opportunity to show his talent further on stage 2 that consists in eight laps on the possibly windy Shuangshandao island.
|#||Rider Name (Country) Team||Result|
|1||Yuriy Metlushenko (Ukr) Torku Sekerspor||1:37:10|
|2||Jesse Kerrison (Aus) Team Budget Forklifts|
|3||Jiri Hochmann (Cze) ASC Dukla Praha|
|4||Ahmet Orken (Tur) Torku Sekerspor|
|5||Kevin Peeters (Bel) Crelan-Euphony|
|6||Alois Kankovsky (Cze) ASC Dukla Praha|
|7||Justin Jules (Fra) La Pomme Marseille|
|8||Armands Becis (Lat) Rietumu-Delfin|
|9||Robert Sweeting (USA) 5 Hour Energy p/b Kenda|
|10||Zhi Hui Jiang (Chn) Max Success Sports|
|#||Rider Name (Country) Team||Result|
|1||Yuriy Metlushenko (Ukr) Torku Sekerspor||1:36:57|
|2||Jesse Kerrison (Aus) Team Budget Forklifts||0:00:07|
|3||Jiri Hochmann (Cze) ASC Dukla Praha||0:00:09|
|4||Yannick Martinez (Fra) La Pomme Marseille||0:00:11|
|5||Armands Becis (Lat) Rietumu-Delfin||0:00:12|
|6||Ahmet Orken (Tur) Torku Sekerspor||0:00:13|
|7||Kevin Peeters (Bel) Crelan-Euphony|
|8||Alois Kankovsky (Cze) ASC Dukla Praha|
|9||Justin Jules (Fra) La Pomme Marseille|
|10||Robert Sweeting (USA) 5 Hour Energy p/b Kenda|