Ukrainian Yuri Metlushenko of the Turkish ‘Konya Torku Seker Spor’ squad nailed the fourth stage’s finishing sprint, but his distant position in the overall individual classification caused no headaches for the team of incumbent orange jersey-wearer Milan Kadlec.
It shared the same distinctively-toothless profile as its relatives, but today’s fourth stage did at least offer a little extra distance for good measure. Though many UCI AsiaTour races are criticised for their lack of Alpine-esque features, Tour of Taihu Lake is shamelessly a “sprinter’s race”; no King Of the Mountains (KOM) jersey is on offer.
At first glance, the deduction that a sprinter like Metlushenko – at 36 years old and in possession of a few additional kilograms than most of his peers in the peloton – would not have been in the mix had a moderate Cat 2 been thrown into today’s stage seems reasonable, his palmarès casts the big-men-can’t-climb logic aside; although “big” (1.72cm and 74kg, according to most readily-available data) needs to be put into a professional cycling context. Stage wins at the mountainous Tours of Azerbaijan and Qinghai Lake (with an average elevation above 3,000m) may just hint at the fact that the powerfully-built Ukrainan knows how to suffer.
However, gradient-induced, bar-biting, grit wasn’t required in today’s 155.2km circuit stage so much as positioning; the front wheel of in-form Alexander Serebryakov (Team Type 1 – Sanofi) was nowhere to be seen as the peloton bore down on the finishing line. While yesterday’s stage winner remained stranded from the action, Alois Kankovsky (ASC Dukla Praha), Kevin Peeters (Landbouwkrediet – Euphony) and Leonid Krasnov (Rusvelo) all created space to come around Metlushenko, but to no avail.
With 467 kilometres and four stages remaining, Drapac Cycling’s Floris Goesinnen lies 9″ adrift of Kadlec, while Hong Kong’s Choi Ki Ho holds third place a further 5″ back. Choi remains keeper of the Young Rider and Greater China Individual jerseys, but teammate Cheung King Lok is a mere 2″ behind in both classifications.
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CLASSIFICATION LEADERS AFTER STAGE 4
Leaders (Orange) Jersey (累计个人成绩 / 橙衫): Milan Kadlec (ASC Dukla Praha)
Points (Green) Jersey (抢分排名 / 绿衫): Alois Kankovsky (ASC Dukla Praha)
Best Chinese Rider Jersey (大中华个人 / 红衫): Choi Ki Ho (Hong Kong National Team)
Best Young Rider (Blue) Jersey (青年个人 / 蓝衫): Choi Ki Ho (Hong Kong National Team
STAGE 4 RESULTS
GENERAL CLASSIFICATION AFTER STAGE 4