Jurgen van Diemen of the Netherlands national team created a surprise when he won stage 4 of the Tour of Taihu Lake ahead of Sam Witmitz from Budget Forklifts and Dukla Praha’s Alois Kankovsky, who had respectively claimed stage 3 and stage 2.
Kankovsky retained the orange jersey of race leader while his main rival and inaugural stage winner Jesse Kerrison crashed with 250 metres to go on the same finishing straight that saw another Dutch victory earlier this year when Kirsten Wild took the UCI Women’s World Cup event, the Tour of Chongming Island, in May.
“As I won the first intermediate sprint, I knew I was fast,” said Van Diemen. “My team got me to the front for the final sprint at the right time and I made the right choice to sprint on the left side of the road. This is my first UCI win and I’m not even a UCI rider. I’m a member of a club team [Swabo Cyclingteam] and I hope this victory will help me get a start with a continental team next year.”
Being an Elite rider and no longer an under-23, Van Diemen wasn’t authorized to take part in the Tour of Taihu Lake as a trainee for the Parkhotel Valkenburg squad, so the team directed by Jan Tabak was eventually renamed the Dutch national team. Van Diemen said he hasn’t signed a contract yet but he’s expected to join Parkhotel Valkenburg in 2015.
The 23-year-old from the outskirts of Amsterdam is now also in contention for the overall victory at the Tour of Taihu Lake. “Winning a stage is hard,” he said. “Winning the general classification is much harder, but since I won two sprints today, it’s possible with five stages left. I’m pursuing three goals really: stage wins, green jersey and overall classification.”
Van Diemen’s Land was the original name of Tasmania in the 17th century and this time around Van Diemen was the executioner of the Australians as he prevented Witmitz from winning for a second day in a row. “We’ve got this lead-out thing dialled at the moment,” the runner-up said. “We were sitting in a very good spot to lead Jesse out to the line and also try to chop me off and continue sprinting to stay high on GC myself. Unfortunately, Jesse’s bad luck continues. He’s had a little tumble. Hopefully he’s not hurt too bad. We’ll have another crack again tomorrow.”
“It’s a really hectic race, like I think the first 75 kilometres were covered in an hour and a half or so,” Witmitz continued. “It meant it was very, very fast. Towards the last intermediate sprint, I just managed to slip away and I had two teammates with me in the break, Daniel Barry and Alex Wohler, and they worked really hard to make sure the break stayed away until the intermediate sprint because it was easy to beat these guys in the break, so it was free points really. My teammates were amazing. We’ve just had a little bit of bad luck with Jesse who is our best chance to win GC this week. Hopefully Jesse puts it up all right.”
Kerrison hurt his left knee but hinted that he would be able to keep racing and therefore contest the tight lead of Kankovsky. Stage 5 around Zhangjiagang Shuangshandao Island in the Yang Tze River will consist of seven laps of 16.2km plus 15.6km for a total distance of 129km.
|#||Rider Name (Country) Team||Result|
|1||Jurgen van Diemen (Ned) Netherlands National Team||2:41:50|
|2||Sam Witmitz (Aus) Team Budget Forklifts|
|3||Alois Kankovsky (Cze) Team Dukla Praha|
|4||Patrick Clausen (Den) Team Trefor-Blue Water|
|5||Maksym Averin (Aze) Synergy Baku Cycling Project|
|6||Mohd Harrif Saleh (Mas) Terengganu Cycling Team|
|7||Ahmet Orken (Tur) Torku Sekerspor|
|8||Boris Shpilevskiy (Rus) Rts-Santic Racing Team|
|9||David van Eerd (Ned) Start-Trigon Cycling Team|
|10||Muhamad Adiq Husainie Othman (Mas) Terengganu Cycling Team|
|#||Rider Name (Country) Team||Result|
|1||Alois Kankovsky (Cze) Team Dukla Praha||11:03:02|
|2||Sam Witmitz (Aus) Team Budget Forklifts||0:00:08|
|3||Jurgen van Diemen (Ned) Netherlands National Team||0:00:11|
|4||Jesse Kerrison (Aus) Team Budget Forklifts||0:00:12|
|5||Ma Guangtong (Chn) Hengxiang Cycling Team||0:00:20|
|6||Boris Shpilevskiy (Rus) Rts-Santic Racing Team||0:00:22|
|7||Meiyin Wang (Chn) Hengxiang Cycling Team|
|8||Patrick Clausen (Den) Team Trefor-Blue Water||0:00:25|
|9||Justin Jules (Fra) Team La Pomme Marseille 13|
|10||Mattia Gavazzi (Ita) Amore & Vita - Selle Smp|