Tour of Taihu Lake: Kerrison wins opening stage

Young Australian takes sprint in Wuxi

Known as the world’s fastest race, the fifth Tour of Taihu Lake has seen the victory of up and coming sprinter Australian Jesse Kerrison (Budget Forklifts), who claimed stage 1 ahead of Czech Alois Kankovsky (Dukla Praha) and Russia’s Boris Shpilevski (RTS) in Wuxi. Following the performance of Yuriy Metlushenko, who completed the total 937.9 kilometres at an average speed of 47.507kph last year, the race started in the Jiangsu province on a similar note as an average of 47.278kph was recorded on the circuit of the Binhu district.

“I’m so happy to win,” Kerrison reacted. “In my first experience here one year ago, I felt like I was always a little bit behind in the sprints. This year I feel I’m competitive 100%.” The Queenslander took his first UCI win in the 2013 Tour of Taihu Lake but only after Kankovsky was disqualified from stage 6. “I haven’t raced internationally this year,” he continued, “except for the Tour de Beauce but that was too hilly for me. I’ve won eight races back home including one stage race, the Tour of the Murray River, which is the Australian version of the Tour of Taihu Lake, dead flat with no wind and a bunch sprint every day.”

Stage 1 was no exception. Shpilevski won the first intermediate sprint after 40km and China’s best cyclist on the domestic scene Wang Meiyin (Hengxiang) took the second one from a 17-man short-lived breakaway following a solo attempt by José Gonçalves (La Pomme Marseille). “I was lucky to find myself in this small group”, commented the ever humble Wang. “It gives me the red jersey of best Chinese rider for now but my ultimate goal is to move higher in the Asia Tour ranking, so the general classification of the Tour of Taihu Lake is my priority over the pride of being the highest ranked Chinese.”

There were two crashes on the way and Kerrison took part in one of them with 40km to go. “I hit the deck but I’m fine”, he said. “From 5 to 3km to go, the preparation for the sprint was messy as usual as six or seven teams wanted to be at the front. Dukla took the lead with 2km to go and we finished it off. Sam [Witmitz] dropped me off 180 metres before the line and it was done. Last year we didn’t know the race before we came here. The whole team was committed but we took some climbers and TT riders. This year, every one of us can win a stage and is strong enough to lead out.”

After the first edition that consisted in a one-day race and was won by another Australian, David Kemp, the Tour of Taihu has never seen a change of leader in the overall classification. Three years in a row, the winner of stage 1, successively Milan Kadlec, Kankovsky and Metlushenko, has kept the jersey till the end. “Fingers crossed that it’ll be the same again”, Kerrison wished.

He’s not racing in China to prove anything for his future as he’s got a contract secured with the BMC development team for next year through his agent Joona Laukka. “I can’t wait for going to Europe”, he said. “I’m so looking forward to riding on the cobbles!”

Stage 2 Soochow Life Changshu Kucheng Lake Circuit will consist in eight laps of a 17-km long circuit.

 

Brief Results

#Rider Name (Country) TeamResult
1Jesse Kerrison (Aus) Team Budget Forklifts2:21:15 
2Alois Kankovsky (Cze) Team Dukla Praha  
3Boris Shpilevskiy (Rus) Rts-Santic Racing Team  
4Patrick Clausen (Den) Team Trefor-Blue Water  
5Justin Jules (Fra) Team La Pomme Marseille  
6Ahmet Orken (Tur) Torku Sekerspor  
7Siu Wai Ko (HKg) Team Hong Kong China  
8Ondrej Rybin (Cze) Team Dukla Praha  
9Maksym Averin (Aze) Synergy Baku Cycling Project  
10Oleksandr Surutkovych (Ukr) Synergy Baku Cycling Project  
General classification after stage 1
#Rider Name (Country) TeamResult
1Jesse Kerrison (Aus) Team Budget Forklifts2:21:05 
2Boris Shpilevskiy (Rus) Rts-Santic Racing Team0:00:03 
3Alois Kankovsky (Cze) Team Dukla Praha0:00:04 
4Meiyin Wang (Chn) Hengxiang Cycling Team0:00:07 
5Jurgen Van Diemen (Ned) Netherland National Team0:00:08 
6Vojtech Hacecky (Cze) Team Dukla Praha  
7Justin Jules (Fra) Team La Pomme Marseille0:00:09 
8Oleksandr Surutkovych (Ukr) Synergy Baku Cycling Project  
9Patrick Clausen (Den) Team Trefor-Blue Water0:00:10 
10Ahmet Orken (Tur) Torku Sekerspor  

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