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Antomarchi claims queen stage and yellow jersey

Already the winner of stage 4, Julien Antomarchi of La Pomme Marseille doubled up in Wuzhishan as he claimed the queen stage ahead of Astana’s Andriy Zeits, while Niccolo Bonifazio (Lampre-Merida) finished in third place with a deficit of 39 seconds. Antomarchi moved back into the lead with a high chance of winning the ninth Tour of Hainan overall.

“This confirms my momentum,” Antomarchi said. “The second stage win really says everything about how we’re going. My first victory was great as well but it was due to circumstances. I gave it my all at the end of long breakaway but I might well have lost had the peloton ridden differently. Today, it’s really an affair of the strongest riders in the race. At the bottom of the last climb with about fifteen kilometres to go, I followed Zeits who had to make up time on GC. I only did a turn in the last kilometre of climbing and then on the downhill towards the finish. I out-sprinted him with 150 metres to go. It’s a beautiful victory.”

“I’ve done everything I could to get rid of the boy from Marseille,” Zeits explained. “But we rode together downhill where it was slippery because of the rain earlier on. I heard we had an advantage of 1:12 atop the hill and only 20 seconds at the bottom. As a team, we wanted a better result than what we got today but we’ve done our best and now I lead the Asian rider classification. I wasn’t sure if we’d manage to beat Wang Meiyin there but we did. He’s very strong on the flat, he’s got power for sprinting but he’s bigger than me and I think I had an advantage over him because of my physique in the hills today.”

The stage started very fast although it was almost 200km long but there was a fight in the air for the polka dot jersey. “Many riders were looking at me,” said King of the Mountains Sergey Grechyn who courageously retained his lead. “But eventually I rode away with Tom Leezer of Belkin and Branislau Samoilau of CCC Polsat and I could collect the points I needed, which I didn’t think I’d be able to do since I haven’t raced much this year. I started the season with a broken arm and the Tour of Hainan is my last race for 2014.”

Grechyn’s future is uncertain, so is Antomarchi’s. The Frenchman is on the hunt for a new contract. “We don’t often get the chance to race against ProTeams like Astana, Belkin and Lampre-Merida”, the 30 year old said. “It’s motivating to give our best in order to show that the gap between our respective levels isn’t that big. With three riders from La Pomme Marseille in the top six today, we prove that we’re a strong team, so I can count on my team-mates to help me defend the yellow jersey in the last two days. Secondly, the teams of the sprinters will be interested in riding behind breakaways as well because if no one in the front group is dangerous on GC, we can let them go for a stage win.”

Bonifazio, who had tipped the La Pomme Marseille riders as favourites prior to the queen stage seemed to have accepted Antomarchi’s superiority in the fight for the yellow jersey. “Today, my team has worked very well until the last climb and I’m quite happy with my performance uphill but it wasn’t enough to keep the lead,” the young Italian said. “It was a question of legs. The two strongest riders have made it. Now I’ll defend the green jersey and I’ll target the second place overall.”




#Rider Name (Country) TeamResult
1Julien Antomarchi (Fra) La Pomme Marseille 135:03:00
2Andrey Zeits (Kaz) Astana0:00:01
3Niccolo Bonifazio (Ita) Lampre-Merida0:00:39
4Julien El Fares (Fra) La Pomme Marseille 130:00:41
5Alexsandr Dyachenko (Kaz) Astana
6José Gonçalves (Por) La Pomme Marseille 13
7Manuele Mori (Ita) Lampre-Merida0:00:43
8Nick Van Der Lijke (Ned) Belkin0:00:57
9Moises Duenas Nevado (Spa) Burgos-BH
10Meiyin Wang (Chn) Hengxiang Cycling Team0:01:08

General classification
#Rider Name (Country) TeamResult
1Julien Antomarchi (Fra) La Pomme Marseille 1327:00:09
2Andrey Zeits (Kaz) Astana0:00:25
3Niccolo Bonifazio (Ita) Lampre-Merida0:00:35
4José Gonçalves (Por) La Pomme Marseille 130:01:08
5Julien El Fares (Fra) La Pomme Marseille 130:01:10
6Alexsandr Dyachenko (Kaz) Astana0:01:11
7Manuele Mori (Ita) Lampre-Merida0:01:13
8Meiyin Wang (Chn) Hengxiang Cycling Team0:01:26
9Nick Van Der Lijke (Ned) Belkin0:01:27
10Moises Duenas Nevado (Spa) Burgos-BH

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