Jakub "Kuba" Mareczko took a back to back victory at the 2015 Tour of Taihu Lake with an impressive domination over the second bunch gallop. The Polish-born Italian outsprinted kilo rider Scott Sunderland from the Australian Budget Forklifts team and Turkey’s Ahmet Örken, in the modern industrial agglomeration of Haimen on the Yangtze River delta.
"Just like yesterday, the team worked for me," Mareczko said at the finish. "I paid them back with another win. They've been fantastic in keeping me at the front in the last kilometers of racing. [Andrea] Dal Col, like yesterday, guided me to the sprint. It's been wonderful again today."
A 17-man breakaway group iss something unusual in this race but it didn't bother the Southeast team. The last escapee to be reined in with eight kilometres to go was Uzbekistan's Muradjan Halmuratov from Beijing Innova. Green jersey wearer Andriy Kulik of Kolss and blue jersey wearer Örken who came second and third on stage 1 respectively were obviously fighting for position in Mareczko's slipstream. The Turkish rider was doing well until the flamme rouge.
"Suddenly I went back in twentieth place and I had to sprint back to the front," Örken said. "Considering the effort I've had to produce, I'm happy with this second consecutive third place."
Sunderland replaced Kulik at the award ceremony after losing significantly to Mareczko. "He's very fast," the Western Australian noted. "We had a much better plan than yesterday when we used two guys earlier on in the race. I had to go quite long today, from about 300 metres, and there was obviously someone a bit quicker than me. It's always good to get on the podium. I'd prefer the top step but this is one step in the right direction. Mareczko with two stage wins is obviously the man to beat here. I think I'm yet to get used to this type of racing, I'm from Australia, it's a bit different. Each day I feel a lot stronger. My team was much stronger today. Hopefully each day we'll get better."
"I don't know how many stage wins I can target out of nine," Mareczko added. "There'll be some more bunch sprints by the end of the race. I'll try to do well again and we'll see which result it brings. We've had rainy conditions today but it wasn't a problem for me. Even on a bit colder day, I feel better on the bike. For now, for sure I'm well. I've got the legs. I came in a great shape out of the Tour of Hainan where I was already pedaling well."
The 21 year-old from the Garda Lake hinted that he was at the Tour of Taihu Lake for GC even though stages 5 and 6 feature some hills this year. With a ten-second bonus for every stage win, he might get to that point with a comfortable lead. Interestingly, his advantage got a bit bigger over two of his potential serious rivals since Marseille 13-KTM's Rémy Di Gregorio and Julien El Farès who recently finished third overall at the Tour of Hainan lost six seconds due to a split in the peloton on the finishing line.
That's also the case for Chinese cycling’s Wang Meiyin whose red jersey of best rider from Greater China was already captured through the intermediate sprints by his team-mate from Hengxiang Zhao Jingbiao who was the national champion last year.
Stage 3 will also take place in Haimen on a riverside circuit. "I definitely like this terrain," Mareczko warned. "It's dead flat so it suits me perfectly."
|#||Rider Name (Country) Team||Result|
|1||Jakub Marezcko (Ita) Southeast||2:31:54|
|2||Scott Sunderland (Aus) Team Budget Forklifts|
|3||Ahmet Orken (Tur) Torku Sekerspor|
|4||Marco Zanotti (Ita) Parkhotel Valkenburg CT|
|5||Andriy Kulyk (Ukr) Kolss BDC Team|
|6||Yoan Verardo (Fra) Team Marseille 13 KTM|
|7||Andreas Hyldgaard Jeppesen (Den) Team Trefor-Blue Water|
|8||Andrea Palini (Ita) Skydive Dubai|
|9||Feng Qiao (Chn) Ningxia Sports Lottery - Focus|
|10||Patrick Clausen (Den) Team Trefor-Blue Water|
|#||Rider Name (Country) Team||Result|
|1||Jakub Marezcko (Ita) Southeast||5:35:33|
|2||Ahmet Orken (Tur) Torku Sekerspor||0:00:12|
|3||Andriy Kulyk (Ukr) Kolss BDC Team||0:00:14|
|4||Scott Sunderland (Aus) Budget Forklifts|
|5||Jingbiao Zhao (Chn) Hengxian Cycling Team||0:00:15|
|6||Frantisek Sisr (Cze) Team Dukla Praha||0:00:16|
|7||Evaldas Siskevicius (Ltu) Team Marseille 13 KTM||0:00:17|
|8||Sam Witmitz (Aus) Team Budget Forklifts|
|9||Yingchuan Gu (Chn) Giant- Champion Systems||0:00:19|
|10||Andris Vosekalns (Lat) Rietumu-Delfin|