Stage 3: Nantong - Qidong
Following the Tour of Hainan where the Belkin team won nine stages out of nine and the overall classification, the Tour of Taihu Lake has seen another repeat sequence of victories, as Yuriy Metlushenko of Torku Seker Spor won a bunch sprint for the third day in a row.
Metlushenko preceded Dukla Praha’s Alois Kankovsky and Boris Shpilevskiy of RTS-Santic by an even bigger margin than the previous two days. He has thus increased his lead on GC over the Czech rider to sixteen seconds while the Russian was the main beneficiary of stage 3, as he added a total of seven seconds in time bonus to move up to third overall.
“I’m amazed once again that I won,” Metlushenko said. “With four riders in the lead, we agreed in the bunch that we were racing for fifth place but Crelan-Euphony and Budget Forklifts closed the gap.”
The four riders were Frantisek Sisr of Dukla Praha, Metlushenko’s team-mate Sergey Grechyn and his compatriots from the Ukraine national team Andriy Vasulyuk and Mykhaylo Kononenko. Therefore, the three strongest teams in the race became passive at the back.
But the gap didn’t exceed thirty seconds and the wide roads were favorable to a regrouping that caused a crash with 2km to go. Red jersey wearer of best Greater China rider Jiang Zhi Hui from Max Success Sport went down heavily while best young rider Jesse Kerrison of Budget Forklifts got caught behind the crash. “Then I was too tired to sprint against Metlushenko,” said the Australian. “It’s a disappointing day because I also couldn’t shift my gear to the 11 cog so I missed out on the intermediate sprints as well.”
That’s where Shpilevskiy found himself again. “I’m getting better and better every day,” said the winner of the 2011 Tour of Taihu Lake. “I hope that I won’t have to wait for Sunday to win a stage but it all depends on my physical condition.”
“There are many good sprinters here,” noted Metlushenko. “I’m lucky that even though he had produced a strong effort in the breakaway, Grechyn was still able to lead me out in the last kilometer. I was in second position in the last curve. I started sprinting very early. Every victory is precious for me. I’ve had a season below my expectations and I’m still without a contract for next year.
“Today’s win is dedicated to my wife Natalia. Although she’s happy when I win, she has to wait for me at our house in Italy while I’m racing in China for one month. Everything I have, I owe it to cycling: my education that gave me two diplomas in jurisprudence and teaching sport, my military service, my discovery of the world, my practice of foreign languages… I even met my wife thanks to cycling. All my background in that sport makes happy winning at my age .”
|#||Rider Name (Country) Team||Result|
|1||Yuriy Metlushenko (Ukr) Torku Sekerspor||2:02:12|
|2||Alois Kankovsky (Cze) ASC Dukla Praha|
|3||Boris Shpilevsky (Rus) RTS-Santic Racing Team|
|4||Alex Wohler (Aus) Team Budget Forklifts|
|5||Munkhtulga Erdenesuren (Mon) Malak Cycling Team|
|6||Ahmet Orken (Tur) Torku Sekerspo|
|7||Vitaly Buts (Ukr) Ukraine|
|8||Merk Pederson (Den) Blue Water Cycling|
|9||Yannick Martinez (Fra) La Pomme Marseille|
|10||Rasmus Guldhammer (Den) Blue Water Cycling|
|#||Rider Name (Country) Team||Result|
|1||Yuriy Metlushenko (Ukr) Torku Sekerspor||6:22:32|
|2||Alois Kankovsky (Cze) ASC Dukla Praha||0:00:16|
|3||Boris Shpilevsky (Rus) RTS-Santic Racing Team||0:00:24|
|4||Vitaly Buts (Ukr) Ukraine||0:00:25|
|5||Jiri Hochmann (Cze) ASC Dukla Praha||0:00:26|
|6||Yannick Martinez (Fra) La Pomme Marseille||0:00:27|
|7||Jesse Kerrison (Aus) Team Budget Forklifts|
|8||Christophe Premont (Bel) Crelan-Euphony||0:00:29|
|9||Juan Carlos Martinez (Spa) Burgos BH-Castilla y Leon||0:00:32|
|10||Kevin Peeters (Bel) Crelan-Euphony|
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