Chinese racing specialist Boris Shpilevski (RTS-Santic) took his turn as stage winner at the Tour of Taihu Lake, which has seen five different stage winners in as many days. The Russian fast man, who sustained a bad crash and broke a tooth in the lead-up to an intermediate sprint on stage 2, outsprinted Patrick Clausen (Trefor-Blue Water) and Malaysia’s Harrif Salleh (Terengganu), who became the first Asian to make the top 3 on a stage so far.
“No matter what happened before, all that counts is today’s result,” Shpilevski said. “I’m really happy. I thank my team for the help. I’ve had a very difficult time in the past two days after my crash but we expected this victory to arrive. I felt the power coming back day by day. I used the slipstream of Budget Forklifts and I started sprinting with 250 metres to go. It went well but it’s still difficult for me to set an exact goal for the Tour of Taihu Lake. I might be able to contest the overall win. The race remains very open.”
Eight riders are within twenty seconds overall with four stages to go and that includes local favorite Wang Meiyin of Hengxiang who rode away again (along with Zhang Zhi Hui of Giant-Champion System, Samir Jabraylov from Synergy Baku Cycling Project and Torku’s Bekir Akirsan) and claimed all three intermediate sprints, adding a total of nine bonus seconds to his account, almost as many as the stage winner (10).
“I won them all but it was never easy,” Wang explained. “My rivals had their own plan and there was no more cooperation in our front group one kilometre before every sprint. Cycling is my profession and I give my best to do it better every day. I don’t know how far my dedication will take me but as it’s the dream of every cyclist to ride the Tour de France, I believe I’ll get there eventually after Ji Cheng became the first Chinese to do so this year.”
Race leader Alois Kankovsky, who retained the orange jersey for the fourth straight day, was full of praise for the Chinese attacker. “With Wang going away almost every day and doing such a good job with taking time bonuses like that, my lead is in danger,” the Czech rider said. “We kept a distance of about one minute [the maximum gap was 1:45] between us and the leaders and we caught them in the final lap [with 12km to go]. I didn’t take any time bonus today but my defence of the orange jersey was a success.”
Kankovsky doesn’t have to worry anymore about Mattia Gavazzi, who promised to be very strong towards the end of the Tour of Taihu Lake. The Italian has been disqualified and expelled from the race for holding onto his team car after he sustained a mechanical problem in the second of eight laps of the Zhangjiagang Shuangshandao Island Circuit.
“I don’t know what happened but this is not good news,” Shpilevsky said. “Gavazzi was my teammate back in 2008 and I was part of his lead-out train. He’s a high quality sprinter. I’m sorry to hear that he’s not in the game anymore.”
Best young rider Jesse Kerrison who got food poisoning after stage 2 and crashed in stage 4, felt dizzy during the whole race and didn’t look very confident for the remaining part of the Tour of Taihu Lake. Stage 6 from Wujin Yancheng Park to Xitaihu Lake will be 113 kilometres long.
|#||Rider Name (Country) Team||Result|
|1||Boris Shpilevskiy (Rus) RTS-Santic Racing Team||2:51:37|
|2||Patrick Clausen (Den) Team Trefor-Blue Water|
|3||Mohd Harrif Saleh (Mas) Terengganu Cycling Team|
|4||Søren Kragh Andersen (Den) Team Trefor-Blue Water|
|5||Sam Witmitz (Aus) Team Budget Forklifts|
|6||Jurgen van Diemen (Ned) Netherlands National Team|
|7||Maksym Averin (Aze) Synergy Baku Cycling Project|
|8||Alois Kankovsky (Cze) Team Dukla Praha|
|9||David van Eerd (Ned) Start-Trigon Cycling Team|
|10||Oleksandr Surutkovych (Ukr) Synergy Baku Cycling Project|
|#||Rider Name (Country) Team||Result|
|1||Alois Kankovsky (Cze) Team Dukla Praha||13:54:39|
|2||Sam Witmitz (Aus) Team Budget Forklifts||0:00:08|
|3||Jurgen van Diemen (Ned) Netherlands National Team||0:00:11|
|4||Boris Shpilevskiy (Rus) RTS-Santic Racing Team||0:00:12|
|5||Jesse Kerrison (Aus) Team Budget Forklifts|
|6||Meiyin Wang (Chn) Hengxiang Cycling Team||0:00:13|
|7||Patrick Clausen (Den) Team Trefor-Blue Water||0:00:19|
|8||Ma Guangtong (Chn) Hengxiang Cycling Team||0:00:20|
|9||Justin Jules (Fra) Team La Pomme Marseille 13||0:00:25|
|10||Mohd Harrif Saleh (Mas) Terengganu Cycling Team|