Qinghai Lake: López blitzes Stage 12 sprint field, Jones tops points classification

Spaniard Daniel López goes on better on penultimate stage to take bunch sprint victory on fast Yinchuan city circuit a day after taking second in Zhongwei …

Burgos-BH will be celebrating in Yinchuan, China tonight as team sprinter Daniel López (ESP) records his first professional win with a sensational sprint victory over a 107-rider final on Stage 12 at the 17th Tour of Qinghai Lake (UCI 2.HC) on Friday.

The 24-year-old Spaniard stood atop the penultimate stage podium over Stage 9 winner and Turkish champion Onur Balkan (Torku-Şekerspor) and Englishman Jacob Hennessy (Mitchelton-BikeExchange) following the 107-kilometre circuit race containing a 40.44km opener transitioning into five laps of 13.26km each.

“I’m so happy because is my first professional win of my career and the first of the team in the 2018,” said López, who took second in a crash-marred Stage 10 final a day earlier. “This is the way Burgos planned it. We pedalled it and, finally, we won. I need to thank a lot my team for the wonderful job today.”

With one stage remaining, Colombian Hernan Aguirre (Manzana Postobón) will enjoy the 13th and final stage as a ceremonial victory lap as he will wrap up both the yellow leader’s jersey and polka-dot mountains jersey after taking both on the first of his two mountain stage wins.

Aguirre holds a 1-minute 5-second lead on general classification over fellow Colombian and Manzana teammate Hernando Bohórquez while 2015 race winner Radoslav Rogina (Adria Mobil) of Croatia in third (+2:35). The green points jersey did switch backs as Italian Luca Pacioni (Wilier Triestina-Selle Italia), who was heavily scraped during the previous day’s finish line crash, surrendered the points lead to Stage 2 winner Brenton Jones (Delko-Marseille Provence KTM), who has recorded a third- and two fourth-place results in Qinghai over the past two weeks.

“Letting out the frustration of coming from too far back in the sprint today, but doing enough to take the lead in the green jersey,” posted the 26-year-old Australian on his official Instagram page. “One more day to go, the competition is tight, but I’m ready to fight.”

Meanwhile, Kazakhstan’s Ilya Davidenok (Beijing XDS-Innova) holds the blue jersey for ‘Best Asian Rider’ heading into the last day of racing — a 108km circuit in Lanzhou featuring three intermediate sprints spread over seven 15.43km laps.