Stage 5: La Luna - Wuxing
Stage 5 of the Tour of Taihu Lake has seen a new winner after four consecutive victories by Yuriy Metlushenko as Alois Kankovsky of Dukla Praha was designated by the photo-finish at the end of a very tight sprint in Wuxing. The race was contested at an average speed of 48.212km/h.
"Finally I've won!," yelled the Czech track specialist. "Being beaten by Metlushenko four days in a row, I was disappointed, but he's in a really good shape. On the other hand, after I won four stages at the Tour of China, I think my form is going down. I feel a little bit tired. That's why I've had to wait till stage 5 to find the way to win. Yesterday I made the mistake to launch my sprint from too far out, 300 metres before the line, so today I did the opposite: I waited for the last 50 metres and it proved to be the right tactic."
But Metlushenko admitted that he could have avoided Kankovsky's final rush. "I've opened the door to Kankovsky on my left side," the race leader described. "I should have stayed near the barricades. The wind was blowing from the right. It's my fault if I've lost by so little. We're all on the same line."
50 metres before the line, it looked like it was in the pocket for eventual third placed Boris Shpilevskiy. "But the wind blocked me," the Russian lamented. "It was a fight against myself. It's a good day for me with the time bonus I've collected. It's a big job to stay in third place overall. I'd like to move up to second but it's difficult with the physical condition I have now."
Final general classification is in the mind of the sprinters as they have moved into the second half of the Tour of Taihu. "We've passed the equator!," smiled Metlushenko. "It's still an enormous satisfaction that I'm still in the lead at this point of the race."
The Torku Seker Spor rider has an advantage of 14 seconds with three stages to go. Runner up Kankovsky remained unclear about his ambitions. "I want to win one more stage," he said. "The difference between first and second place is not big and anything can happen on the last day, a breakaway might as well work after eight bunch sprint finishes."
Having won an intermediate sprint, best young rider Jesse Kerrison of Budget Forklifts entered the top 5 on GC. "I can't believe Alois won from so far left," commented the Australian who remains in a discovery mood during his first trip overseas. "We're happy though. Every day we're racing better and better. My legs blew up a bit in the last 50 metres but I'm still optimistic for winning a stage before the end."
Stage 6 from Changxing Longshan Xinqu to Taihu Tuying Circuit will develop 110.2km. It should be another fast one.
|#||Rider Name (Country) Team||Result|
|1||Alois Kankovsky (Cze) ASC Dukla Praha||2:32:57|
|2||Yuriy Metlushenko (Ukr) Torku Sekerspor|
|3||Boris Shpilevskiy (Rus) RTS-Santic Racing Team|
|4||Jesse Kerrison (Aus) Team Budget Forklifts|
|5||Kevin Peeters (Bel) Crelan-Euphony|
|6||Jiri Hochmann (Cze) ASC Dukla Praha|
|7||Vitaliy Buts (Ukr) Ukraine|
|8||Juan Carlos Riutort Martinez (Spa) Burgos BH-Castilla y Leon|
|9||Zhi Hui Jiang (Chn) Max Success Sport|
|10||Robert Sweeting (USA) 5 Hour Energy p/b Kenda|
|#||Rider Name (Country) Team||Result|
|1||Yuriy Metlushenko (Ukr) Torku Sekerspor||11:52:32|
|2||Alois Kankovsky (Cze) ASC Dukla Praha||0:00:14|
|3||Boris Shpilevskiy (Rus) RTS-Santic Racing Team||0:00:33|
|4||Jiri Hochmann (Cze) ASC Dukla Praha||0:00:38|
|5||Jesse Kerrison (Aus) Team Budget Forklifts||0:00:40|
|6||Vitaliy Buts (Ukr) Ukkraine||0:00:41|
|7||Yannick Martinez (Fra) La Pomme Marseille||0:00:42|
|8||Christophe Premont (Bel) Crelan-Euphony||0:00:44|
|9||Kevin Peeters (Bel) Crelan-Euphony|
|10||Robert Sweeting (USA) 5 Hour Energy p/b Kenda||0:00:45|
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