Ukraine's Yuriy Metlushenko of Torku Seker Spor made it two in a row as he won stage 2, which consisted in eight laps around the dead flat Shuangshanandao Island on the Yangtze river. In a tight sprint finish, he beat Czech track specialist Alois Kankovsky, who is no stranger to Chinese races as he recently won the Tour of China II, and Frenchman Yannick Martinez of La Pomme Marseille.
"I thought I'd lost the jersey and the race when eight riders were still away at bell lap," Metlushenko told Cyclingnews. "It's unbelievable that the bunch came back together but other teams closed the gap: Burgos-BH, Blue water and the Portuguese [Banco Bic-Carmim]. I was left with only two teammates, Ahmet Örken and Sergey Grechyn, who led me out and yelled at the last kilometer mark.
"You can't fail!' I can't ask too much to my other teammates who are suffering the jet lag. At the start, we planned to let a breakaway of three or four riders go and collect the time bonus. We wanted a quiet day but it didn't happen like that," he said.
Christophe Prémont (Crelan-Eupony), Robert Sweeting (5 Hour Energy), Frantisek Sisr (Dukla Praha), Jacob Hauffman (Budget Forklifts), Rasmus Guldhammer (Blue water), Clément Saint-Martin (La Pomme Marseille), Vitaly Buts (Ukraine) and Ruslan Karimov (Uzbekistan) had an advantage of 1:20 with 20km to go but the wind hadn't created enough damage yet. The average speed in stage 2 was 47.277km/h.
"It was another fast running at a crazy speed, and Yuriy got it again, but I'll beat him before the end of this race," promised best young rider Jesse Kerrison of Budget Forklifts, who finished fourth after losing the slipstream of his lead-out man with 1.5km to go.
"In the echelons, it was a good day for us, we showed the peloton that we can be respected," the Queenslander said. "For me, this is a great learning experience."
Third placed Martinez was initially working for his teammate Justin Jules but realized with 300 metres to go that he'd better sprint for himself. "I want to ride for the GC here after I grabbed a time bonus yesterday in the intermediate sprint and today at the finish," said the Frenchman, who moved up to fourth overall with the same time as Kerrison.
With seven stages to go, Metlushenko might already have overcome the hardest part of the Tour of Taihu Lake. "Now I can think of the general classification," he said ahead of the 98km stage 3 from Nantong in the outskirts of Shanghai to the Su-Tong science and technology park of Qidong.
|#||Rider Name (Country) Team||Result|
|1||Yuriy Metlushenko (Ukr) Torku Sekerspor||2:43:43|
|2||Alois Kankovsky (Cze) ASC Dukla Praha|
|3||Yannick Martinez (Fra) La Pomme Marseille|
|4||Jesse Kerrison (Aus) Team Budget Forklifts|
|5||Justin Jules (Fra) La Pomme Marseille|
|6||Xiaoyong Dong (Chn) Qinghai Tianyoude Cycling Team|
|7||Jiri Hochmann (Cze) ASC Dukla Praha|
|8||Kevin Peeters (Bel) Crelan-Euphony|
|9||Zhi Hui Jiang (Chn) Max Success Sports|
|10||Alex Wohler (Aus) Team Budget Forklifts|
|#||Rider Name (Country) Team||Result|
|1||Yuriy Metlushenko (Ukr) Torku Sekerspor||4:20:30|
|2||Alois Kankovsky (Cze) ASC Dukla Praha||0:00:14|
|3||Jesse Kerrison (Aus) Team Budget Forklifts||0:00:17|
|4||Yannick Martinez (Fra) La Pomme Marseille|
|5||Jiri Hochmann (Cze) ASC Dukla Praha||0:00:19|
|6||Vitaliy Buts (Ukr) Ukraine||0:00:20|
|7||Boris Shpilevsky (Rus) RTS-Santic Racing Team||0:00:21|
|8||Christophe Premont (Bel) Crelan-Euphony||0:00:22|
|9||Justin Jules (Fra) La Pomme Marseille||0:00:23|
|10||Kevin Peeters (Bel) Crelan-Euphony|
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