Alois Kankovsky of Dukla Praha has put an end to the three-year long legend of the Tour of Taihu Lake, with each edition being contested with no change of race leader as Boris Shpilevski, Milan Kadlec and Yuriy Metlushenko won stage one and all remained in the orange jersey till the end. However Jesse Kerrison, affected by sickness, still managed to take the second place in the bunch gallop and remain high on GC.
“The Tour of Taihu Lake is definitely my favorite race of the whole international cycling calendar,” said Kankovsky, who rejoined Metlushenko on top of the table of the stage wins in the Chinese race, with six successes under his belt in four participations. Among them was stage 8 in 2012 on the same circuit, around and above the Kucheng Lake, with a slight downhill section leading to a leisure park on an island in the middle of the lake.
“I love this kind of long sprint,” explained the 2007 omnium world champion. “It looks like an easy sprint but it’s not. A lot of riders come fast from behind as they benefit from the slipstream and Kerrison has a great team to lead him out.” Kankovsky, 31, scored his first international win of the 2014 season in Changshu before transferring to PSK Whirlpool after four years with Dukla Praha.
The Czech team lost another fast man and track rider as Ondrej Rybin was sent to hospital with a broken collarbone, after crashing in the lead-up to the third intermediate sprint where points classification leader Shpilevski (RTS) went down as well. Till the end, race leader Kerrison did his best to hide from his rivals that he had been sick all night after winning stage 1 and was actually feeling very weak on the bike.
“I felt terrible,” revealed the young Australian who is only two seconds down on Kankovsky in the overall classification. “I’m disappointed because I still came so close to winning but the result is definitely better than what we could have hoped for at the start. I just went too deep for winning against Alois.”
A look at end of race images was needed for the judges to determine who was second, and to check if eventual third placed Patrick Clausen (Trefor-Blue Water) had respected the rules as he finished elbow to elbow with Kerrison. “I came fourth on stage 1 and second on stage 2, now I hope to keep going better and better and collect a second and a first place by the end of the Tour of Taihu,” said the Danish rider who just returned to racing after one month off due to a knee injury. “I’m a sprinter but I prefer to sprint at the end of harder races.” He’s on the hunt for his first international win of the year after taking the Skive Løbet in 2013 and stage 5 of the Flèche du Sud in 2012 but the 24 year old is also in China to find the perfect shape for the Six-Days of Berlin and Copenhagen that he might ride with his compatriot Alex Rasmussen who will become his team-mate at Trefor-Blue Water next year.
“The Tour of Taihu is an excellent preparation for track racing,” noted Clausen, as this is something Kankovsky has already experienced for three years.
Stage 3 Zhongnan Group-Zhongnan Construction will start at Nantong Sport Exhibition and finish at Haimen after 135.4km of racing.
|#||Rider Name (Country) Team||Result|
|1||Alois Kankovsky (Cze) Team Dukla Praha||2:55:37|
|2||Jesse Kerrison (Aus) Team Budget Forklifts|
|3||Patrick Clausen (Den) Team Trefor-Blue Water|
|4||Jurgen Van Diemen (Ned) Netherland National Team|
|5||Justin Jules (Fra) Team La Pomme Marseille|
|6||Ahmet Orken (Tur) Torku Sekerspor|
|7||David Van Eerd (Ned) Start-Trigon Cycling Team|
|8||Mark Sehested Pedersen (Den) Team Trefor-Blue Water|
|9||Oleksandr Surutkovych (Ukr) Synergy Baku Cycling Project|
|10||Antonio Di Battista (Ita) Amore & Vita-Selle Smp|
|#||Rider Name (Country) Team||Result|
|1||Alois Kankovsky (Cze) Team Dukla Praha||5:16:33|
|2||Jesse Kerrison (Aus) Team Budget Forklifts||0:00:02|
|3||Boris Shpilevskiy (Rus) Rts-Santic Racing Team||0:00:12|
|4||Meiyin Wang (Chn) Hengxiang Cycling Team||0:00:13|
|5||Jurgen Van Diemen (Ned) Netherland National Team||0:00:14|
|6||Patrick Clausen (Den) Team Trefor-Blue Water||0:00:15|
|7||Justin Jules (Fra) Team La Pomme Marseille|
|8||Samir Jabrayilov (Aze) Synergy Baku Cycling Project||0:00:17|
|9||Vojtech Hacecky (Cze) Team Dukla Praha|
|10||Oleksandr Surutkovych (Ukr) Synergy Baku Cycling Project||0:00:18|