Stage 6: Guilin - Guilin
Germany's Pascal Ackermann (Bora-Hansgrohe) won the final sprint finish, coming past Juan Sebastian Molano (UAE Team Emirates) on the wet road. Timo Roosen (Jumbo-Visma) was third.
A crash on the final corner of the race saw several riders go down, including Diego Rosa (Team Ineos). However, he was given the same time as Ackermann and so kept his third place overall, 14 seconds down on Mas. Colombia's Dani Martinez (EF Education First) finished second overall at five seconds.
Mas won stage four at the Nongla Scenic Area and then was protected by his Deceuninck-QuickStep teammates for the final two stages. Mas will move to Movistar for 2020 but was happy to sign off from Deceuninck-QuickStep with a WorldTour victory. It was the Belgian team's 69th victory of the 2019 season.
"Winning the Tour of Guangxi is something special that I will always remember. I’m delighted to take what is the maiden GC victory of my career and say goodbye to this fantastic team – who believed in me and gave me the chance to turn pro three years ago – in such a manner." Mas said.
“I’ve learned a lot over these past seasons, made significant progress and am extremely grateful for the time spent here, as it’s been a memorable run stacked with beautiful moments. This win wouldn’t have been possible without my extraordinary teammates, who gave their all and protected me this week. They are an incredible group, whom I am happy to call friends."
How it unfolded
The final 168km stage started and finished in Guilin, with only two minor climbs after 115km that were not expected to spoil the sprinter's final hit out of 2019.
The early break formed quickly, with Frederik Frison (Lotto-Soudal), Mei Yin Wang (Bahrain-Merida), Jay Thomson (Dimension Data), Paul Orselin (Total Direct Energie) and Kevin Van Melsen (Wanty-Gobert) going clear. They opened a two-minute lead but the sprinters' teams kept them under control.
Wang won the first king of the mountains sprint and Van Melsen took the second, ensuring that Tomasz Marczynski (Lotto-Soudal) won the overall classification and a spot on the final podium.
On the flat valley roads, the Bora-Hansgrohe and UAE Team Emirates lead the chase of the break, racing hard to end the season as rapidly as possibly. Thompson was the last to be caught, earning the most aggressive rider of the stage prize. The race was gruppo compatto with five kilometres to go, with teams fighting for position on the wet wide roads before two key corners.
The peloton made it through the first left turn as Asbjørn Kragh Andersen (Team Sunweb) made a late surge and opened a gap. He lead the peloton into the finishing straight but a Bahrain-Merida rider slid out on the wet roads, with several other also going down.
Ackermann was on Molano's wheel and timed his sprint to perfection, while Mas avoided the crash to end his 2019 season with overall victory.
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