Australian WorldTour ‘devo’ team closes Qinghai with win, Aguirre takes home yellow

Mitchelton-BikeExchange pulls sprint together to give Kaden Groves and team ‘biggest win in China’ as Manzana Postobón’s Hernan Aguirre finalises general classification victory at 17th Tour of Qinghai Lake …

Piloted by the “greatest under-23 lead-out man in cycling” Jacob Hennessy, who has two podiums to his credit including third on the penultimate stage on Friday, Mitchelton-BikeExchange sprinter Kaden Groves continued to get his sprint train dialled in as he claimed the final stage win of the 17th Tour of Qinghai Lake in Lanzhou, China on Saturday.

“It was absolutely unreal for both of us to end up leaving the race with a win, especially being a Chinese team and racing here in China,” said Hennessy, who also finished second to Aussie Brenton Jones (Delko-Marseille Provence KTM) on Stage 2. “I think this might actually be our first big pro win in China.

“Harry [Sweeny] did an amazing job leading us up the climb and keeping us in position,” said the 21-year-old Brit following the 108-kilometre city circuit. “With just about a kilometre to go — 1.2k I think — I ended up in the wind on the left and just rode up the side of the bunch to the front and hit the front with about 700m to go. I got out of the saddle and did my best lead-out until about 450m when I saw two Delko riders behind me I swung and Kaden was in perfect position.”

Stage 5 winner Cameron Scott (Australian Cycling Academy) finished third behind runner-up Lucas Carstensen (Bike Aid) of Germany, and ACA’s sports director could not be more pleased.

“We’re super proud of our young team, we lost Leigh after his crash and the guys took control in the final and Cam showed yet again that he’s a sprinter to watch,” said Stu Shaw. “He’s learning every day and this tour will give him and the whole team so much confidence next time we get invited to race in Asia.”

As for two-time stage winner and race leader Hernan Aguirre (Manzana Postobón) it has been an uneventful second week for the 22-year-old Colombian, who became the fourth — and last — rider in as many days to don the yellow jersey following his Stage 4 victory in what would be the first of four straight mountain stages.

Aguirre essentially sealed his GC victory — barring incident or health issues — two days later atop the queen stage summit with a sensational display of depth from Manzana as fellow Colombians Hernando Bohórquez and Yecid Sierra crossed the line at 4,120 metres after runner-up Antonio Santoro (Monkey Town) and Stage 6 winner Aguirre, who also takes home the polka-dot mountains jersey.

“I am so happy I was able to bring this yellow jersey until the end of the competition,” said Aguirre. “It is the first stage race I win in my professional carreer, before I just won stages or one day race.

“This first pro big win is very emotional,” he continued. “For me it was not a problem with high altitudes, actually I felt like home in Colombia. Thanks to my teammates for the big work in these days.”

Bohórquez finished second overall at 1-minute 5-seconds behind Aguirre, while 2015 race winner Radoslav Rogina (Adria Mobil) of Croatia maintains third (+2:35). The green points jersey bounced to the back of Stage 10 winner Dušan Rajović (Adria Mobil) of Serbia after lifting it from Jones.Kazakhstan’s Ilya Davidenok (Beijing XDS-Innova) also wrapped up the ‘Best Asian Rider’ classification to take home the blue jersey.