Not for the first time this year, Team Type 1 – Sanofi demonstrated its fast-twitch capacity extends beyond Alexander Serebryakov, with Aldo Ino Ilesic giving the squad its second win in two days. The race’s first categorised climbs also heralded the opening of the KOM classification, but offered little challenge to the general classification leaders.
Note: Cycling iQ is not on-site in China. The below report and images have been provided by the Tour of China organising committee. Some spell-checking has been applied, but the report has otherwise been left “as is” for authenticity.]
Today was the third stage of the Tour of China and we saw another change of scenery, temperature and in the jerseys. As well, the Polka Dot Jersey was awarded for the first time in this tour to the top climber. In the end there was another exciting finish in front of a huge crowd.
We left the rain behind with a short transfer southeast from Xi’an to the city of Lantian, Xi’an. On the way to the start, the skies cleared up and the sun shone brightly. This put the riders from Christina Watches-Onfone in a good mood and ready to defend the yellow jersey. Prior to the race Martin Pedersen reiterated his team’s commitment to protecting the Yellow Jersey by controlling the field.
The race kicked off and the route wound its way out of the city and onto country roads bordered by fields. Soon the fields gave way to mountains and the riders found themselves on the biggest climb of the tour. At the base of the climb Matija Kvasina from the Tusnad Cycling Team attacked, even though he didn’t know the exactly how hard the mountain was going to be. If the riders were not so focused on the climb they would have been able to take in the beautiful scenery which they rode through. Or perhaps they were focused on the scenery and as they allowed Kvasina to stay away, though never out of sight. With one kilometer to go before the line for the mountain points, Kvasina looked back and thought he would be caught. However, two hundred meters from the line the road kicked up a little and it enough to keep the chasers at bay and take the mountain sprint.
The climb split the stronger riders from their slower competitors and the former took advantage of this. After the climb it was mostly downhill to the finish, with the exception of the a couple of rolling climbs and an intermediate sprint. Despite the lack of hills only, about half of the 124 starters were able to stay in the peleton which finished several minutes ahead of the slower riders.
The race finished with a circuit through the streets of Shangluo which were lined with people on this sunny Sunday afternoon. The peleton tore through the slightly hilly finish before it turned onto a wide open boulevard for a group gallop. In the finishing circuit Team Type 1-Sanofi worked well as a team, and this allowed Aldo Ino Ilesic (TT1) to claim the win about one bike length ahead of Tyler Magner from the BMC-Hincapie Sportswear Development Team. With the win, Ilesic moved into the lead in the points standings so he will be dressed in the blue Points Jersey for stage 4.
This race had the most spectators so far in this tour. Crowds could be seen in even the smallest villages that the race went through and in the starting and finishing cities saw thick crowds. This created a great atmosphere for the riders. Tomorrow the riders will be able to relax and rest because they have a day off to make the transfer from Shangluo to Xiangyang where they will compete in circuit race through the city.
Individual General Classification (Yellow jersey): Martin Pedersen (Christina Watches – Onfone)
Points Classification (Blue jersey): Aldo Ino Ilesic (Tusnad Cycling Team)
King of the Mountains Classification (Polka Dot jersey): Matija Kvasina
Best Great China Rider Classification (White jersey): Xu Gang (Champion System Pro Cycling Team)
Teams General Classification: Christina Watches – Onfone
STAGE THREE RESULTS
GENERAL CLASSIFICATION AFTER STAGE THREE