Chinese national road race champion Gang Xu ensured the Champion System team was in the breakaway during the first stage of the Giro del Trentino and then swapped his red national champion's jersey for the cream coloured most aggressive rider's jersey.
Xu finished last of the eight breakaway riders but earned his 15 minutes of fame by being the first to attack at the start of the 128.5km stage. He suffered on the late climb and could not stay with eventual winner Maxime Bouet but was happy to be in the action.
"I arrived in Austria yesterday after some races in Belgium and so my form's pretty good. In the team meeting my manager told me to go in the break and I said: 'Ok, no problem', I was happy to go for it. As soon as the race started, I went!" Xu told Cyclingnews.
Gang Xu has been a professional rider for two years with Champion System. He won the Chinese national title last October, his fourth national title after also winning titles in 2007, 2008 and 2009. He rode the Tour of Qatar and the Tour of Oman in February and has raced in Belgium and France since then, often suffering on the cobbles and in the echelons and failing to finish.
"The level is very high in Europe, the races are very fast," he said. "In northern Europe it's very wind and very cold. But fortunately last week there was no wind and so I did better."
The Giro del Trentino marks the end of Xu's spring campaign. Next on his race calendar is the Tour of California.
"I'm going home to Shanghai after this race to get a Visa so that I can ride the Tour of California. That's a big race for us, I can't wait. It'll be nice to race in the USA."
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