Witmitz takes stage and overall lead at Taihu Lake

Australian moves five seconds clear of Kankovksy

Australia's Sam Witmitz of Budget Forklifts became the first rider to win two stages in the2014 Tour of Taihu Lake. He claimed stage 6 on the shores of Xitaihu Lake (west Taihu Lake) in Changzhou as he outsprinted Dutch amateur cyclist Jurgen van Diemen and Turkish up and coming rider Ahmet Örken from Torku Sekerspor. He also took over from Alois Kankovsky on top of the overall ranking."It's an amazing feeling to be able to finish off all the hard work of my team-mates", reacted

Witmitz who is usually a domestique himself. "It was a really really hard day. We were expecting Dukla to take control of the race early on. Because of the aggressive nature of the race, it all stayed together. That's partly thanks to my guys as well. There were as busy as those Duklas pretty much, trying to cover moves and keeping the race together. I managed to pick up a few seconds on the road, which is really handy."

"From that", the Victorian continued, "Jesse was heaps better today, no tummy bugs or anything like that. So we made a call because I was so close to taking the lead in the GC that we'd all be going for me for the finish. The guys again were so amazing. It was so crazy coming off the bridge with 2km to go. They just kept their calm and didn't panic. Especially up against a world class field like we've got here, it just shows you how strong the talent is in Australia these days. Without the help of my team, this wouldn't be possible at all."

"It was lead out man Jesse today!", enjoyed stage 1 Kerrison who remains the best young rider after having experienced food poisoning and a nasty crash. "Dan [Barry] was leading out on the front flat from a tyre. He got at like 600 metres. [Alex] Wohler dropped me off at probably 300 and from there it was just Sammy on my wheel and 90 metres to go he took it. We have two jerseys, it's perfect."

"It's definitely a strange feeling for me", Witmitz added. "I pretty much built a career on

being a lead out man when I joined Budget Forklifts in 2012 to help Luke Davison and now specifically Jesse Kerrison. My role in the team as captain is to help these young guys, give them experience and try and get them move on to a bigger and better team. For me, to be sitting in this position, it's really surreal, like it's not expected at all but I've said it from the start as well, I don't think I'm one of the fastest guys here this week, I don't even think I'm in the top ten fastest guys but because of how strong my team is and how well drilled they are and how the hell we've worked this over the course of a year, it just makes my job so easy. They put me in a honey hole and then I just dribbled across the line."

Witmitz, 29, a former football player for Aussie rules who only returned to cycling at the age of 25 with the Malaysian continental team Letua after six years off the bike, proved himself to being a real showman as he pleased the Chinese crowd with his theatric gestures before getting the green and the orange jersey previously held by Kankovsky. "For me, getting up on stage is a huge novelty", he said. "I like to enjoy every second of it as it could be gone tomorrow. We've seen how strong the Dukla team is.

"We've massively up against a field for the next three days of racing. Yes we've got the lead, that's fantastic but you can't underestimate these guys, especially Boris [Shpilevski], he's back up firing again. It's too close in this race to bank on anything, so I need to enjoy it for what it is at the moment. I get up there and have a bit of fun before I get on with the job tomorrow."

Stage 7, Xtep Huzhou Taihu Tourist Resort-Wuxing Circuit will be contested on a 126.2km long course.

 

Brief results

#Rider Name (Country) TeamResult
1Sam Witmitz (Aus) Team Budget Forklifts2:23:23 
2Jurgen Van Diemen (Ned) Netherlands National Team  
3Ahmet Orken (Tur) Torku Sekerspor  
4Mohd Harrif Saleh (Mas) Terengganu Cycling Team  
5Søren Kragh Andersen (Den) Team Trefor-Blue Water  
6Patrick Clausen (Den) Team Trefor-Blue Water  
7David Van Eerd (Ned) Start-Trigon Cycling Team  
8Boris Shpilevskiy (Rus) Rts-Santic Racing Team  
9Justin Jules (Fra) Team La Pomme Marseille 13  
10Jesse Kerrison (Aus) Team Budget Forklifts  
General classification
#Rider Name (Country) TeamResult
1Sam Witmitz (Aus) Team Budget Forklifts16:17:55 
2Alois Kankovsky (Cze) Team Dukla Praha0:00:05 
3Jurgen Van Diemen (Ned) Netherlands National Team0:00:11 
4Boris Shpilevskiy (Rus) Rts-Santic Racing Team0:00:16 
5Jesse Kerrison (Aus) Team Budget Forklifts0:00:19 
6Meiyin Wang (Chn) Team Hengxiang0:00:20 
7Patrick Clausen (Den) Team Trefor-Blue Water0:00:25 
8Ma Guangtong (Chn) Team Hengxiang0:00:27 
9Ahmet Orken (Tur) Torku Sekerspor0:00:32 
10Justin Jules (Fra) Team La Pomme Marseille 13  

 

Back to top