Serbian Dušan Rajović is fully recovered from early season injury to claim second Tour of Qinghai Lake stage win of career …
A better rested 128 riders signed on to the 10th stage of the 17th Tour of Qinghai Lake in Minqin, China following the two-week,13-stage UCI 2.HC Asia Tour road race’s one and only day off. With three-time race stage winner Eduard Grosu (Nippo-Vini Fantini) on a flight home to repair a broken scapula suffered during a crash on the Stage 9 final two days earlier, Serbian Dušan Rajović (Adria Mobil) made the most of his opportunity and took the win — the second of his career at Qinghai Lake since winning Stage 2 in Xining last year.
The 20-year-old Rajović has also been on the mend after suffering an elbow injury earlier this season.
Shortly after passing the final categorised climb of the race — a Cat.4 — a two-man break animated the stage to Tengger Desert at the 52km mark while launching simultaneously on opposite sides of the road.
Ukrainian Bohdan Musiienko (Lviv Cycling) and Irishman Conn McDunphy (Holdsworth Pro Racing), the latter of whom was also in an extended breakaway on Stage 9, joined forces under crosswind conditions and a scorching desert sun before ultimately succumbing to the peloton with 7km to go.
“We don’t get that in Ireland, so I thought I might as well give it a go because the wind can change,” explained the 21-year-old from Kilcock. “If you have a tailwind it’s hard from them to catch you, you never know on a day like today.
“It was kind of obvious that nothing was going to go,” McDunphy continued. “It was the same story every day in that it takes 40k and someone just rolls off the front. They don’t let many go up the road, two or three normally. I think the biggest break here has been four.”
Only three days of circuit racing remains, meaning the two-time stage winner and current race leader Hernan Aguirre (Manzana Postobón), who leads his teammate Hernando Bohórquez (COL) by 1 minute 5 seconds on general classification, is a lock to remain in yellow until end of the race barring any mishaps, injuries or ailments. With no more climbs remaining, the 22-year-old Colombian has now wrapped up the mountains classification as well.
The blue jersey still belongs on the back of Kazakhstan’s Ilya Davidenok (Beijing XDS-Innova).
The race resumes on Thursday with Stage 11 — a 110km circuit, featuring a 13.27km opener followed by eight 12.04km laps around Zhongwei.
“You never know, we’ll give it a try,” said McDunphy on the chances of a third-straight breakaway effort. “But Seid [Lizde] is a very good sprinter, so we’ll probably go all in for hie those last three days but if there is an opportunity I’ll definitely take it and go from there.”