We have a new winner! Team Type 1-Sanofi s Aldo Ino Ilesic led a trio of fresh faces onto the podium, after decisively winning today s seventh stage. Triple stage-winner Luka Mezgec may have only taken a minor placing in the 104 kilometre circuit race, but his green points jersey remains secure.
Slovenia sure knows how to produce sprinters! Both Ilesic and Mezgec hail from the fourth-smallest EU nation Slovenia is only 10% more populous than Perth; Australia s fourth-largest city and, combined, the pair s stage wins account for almost 60% of all stages completed thus far. Whereas Mezgec (Sava) is the sprinter for his team, Team Type 1 Sanofi appears content to let Ilesic decide, between himself and Kiel Reijnen, who has the best legs on the day.
Tabriz Petrochemical Team held the race together for their race leader, Hossein Alizadeh, despite valiant attempts by China s premier home team, Champion System, to get up the road. The high average speed of 46kph vanquished the thought of any breakaway attempts and meant the kilometres were devoured in a little over two hours. Second- and third-placed Jacob Keough (United Healthcare Cycling) and Cristian Benenati (Farnese Vini Selle Italia) revisited the same podium places upon which they stood following Tuesday s second stage. Reijnen who has finished second on three occasions so far finished 21st behind his teammate.
After a day (more like a day and a half) of rest on Friday, all teams will get a slap to the face with a 200 kilometre stage on Saturday, taking the 130 riders still competing in this year s race back up towards 4,000 metres elevation. However, the 124 kilometre downhill stretch after the day s Hors Categorie summit should make up for it.
Click on image to jump to the stage 7 highlights video at QQride.com
Check out more of Mike s images at the Official Tour of Qinghai Lake photo gallery. China s CNTV also has a small video highlights reel here.
CLASSIFICATION LEADERS AFTER STAGE SEVEN Leaders (Yellow) Jersey (??): Hossein Alizadeh (Tabriz Petrochemical Team) Points (Green) Jersey (??): Luka Mezgec (SAVA) King of the Mountains Jersey (???): Hossein Alizadeh (Tabriz Petrochemical Team)
Best Asian Rider (Blue) Jersey (??): Hossein Alizadeh (Tabriz Petrochemical Team)
STAGE 7 RESULTS
GENERAL CLASSIFICATION AFTER STAGE 7