Stage 7: Sheraton Huzhou Hot Spring Resort - Wuxing - Changxing
Jakub Mareczko (Southeast) equaled Yuriy Metlushenko's record of five stage wins in a single Tour of Taihu Lake as he fended off his arch-rival Andrea Palini (Skydive Dubai) in front of the IMPOSANT government building in Changxing, Zhejiang province, to claim stage 7 in style. He also increased his lead in the overall classification with just two days to go.
"The wind on the banks of Taihu Lake has made the racing pretty complicated," Mareczko declared on a hot day when temperatures of nearly 30 degrees caught the riders by surprise. "But the team kept me at the front like every day. I remained protected, we managed to get another bunch sprint finish and at the end [Eugert] Zhupa and [Andrea] Dal Col have done a wonderful job once again. They have led me out fantastically."
It was all together with 11km to go following several unfruitful escapes. "Palini tried to give himself an advantage in different ways," Mareczko said. "He sent to the front a team-mate [Soufiane Haddi who opened the road for a while Rabobank's Jeroen Meijers and Andriy Vasylyuk from Kolss] in a breakaway and then [Rafaâ] Chtioui, who went alone in the last ten kilometers, but we caught him with 4km to go."
Palini denied it was a tactic to put Mareczko in difficulty but his team-mates were given more freedom. "In the first days of racing at the Tour of Taihu, they worked for me in the sprints but last night I got a stomach bug," the Italian from Skydive Dubai revealed. "I also felt a sore throat and a bit of flu coming. I wasn't feeling good. I managed to jump on Mareczko's wheel but the legs weren't responding. I just did my best to keep my position on GC. I hope to overcome this sickness quickly for a better result than second by the end of the race."
Mareczko looked serene in the approach to the finishing line, and he may be unbeatable in the remaining sprints. "There are two more flat stages to contest," the race leader concluded. "I know since the Tour of Hainan that I'm able to win bunch sprints at this level and I'd like to keep the momentum. Moreover, we're here to defend the lead till the end."
Only one rider has led the Tour of Taihu from start to finish before and that was Russia's Boris Shpilevskiy on the very first edition of the event as a stage race over five days in 2011.
|#||Rider Name (Country) Team||Result|
|1||Jakub Marezcko (Ita) Southeast||2:58:29|
|2||Andrea Palini (Ita) Skydive Dubai|
|3||Andriy Kulyk (Ukr) Kolss BDC Team|
|4||Scott Sunderland (Aus) Team Budget Forklifts|
|5||Ahmet Orken (Tur) Torku Sekerspor|
|6||Martin Laas (Est) Team Marseille 13 KTM|
|7||Tomas Vaitkus (Ltu) Rietumu-Delfin|
|8||Marco Zanotti (Ita) Parkhotel Valkenburg CT|
|9||Patrick Clausen (Den) Team Trefor-Blue Water|
|10||Boris Shpilevsky (Rus) RTS-Santic Racing Team|
|#||Rider Name (Country) Team||Result|
|1||Jakub Marezcko (Ita) Southeast||16:59:00|
|2||Andrea Palini (Ita) Skydive Dubai||0:00:18|
|3||Marco Zanotti (Ita) Parkhotel Valkenburg CT||0:00:24|
|4||Ma Guangtong (Chn) Hengxiang Cycling Team||0:00:27|
|5||Evaldas Siskevicius (Ltu) Team Marseille 13 KTM||0:00:28|
|6||Vitaliy Buts (Ukr) Kolss BDC Team||0:00:36|
|7||Thomas Rabou (Ned) Attaque Team Gusto|
|8||Ahmet Orken (Tur) Torku Sekerspor||0:00:41|
|9||Jingbiao Zhao (Chn) Hengxiang Cycling Team|
|10||Francisco Mancebo (Spa) Skydive Dubai||0:00:43|
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