From left: Marco Benfatto, Ho Kyoung Park and Andrea Guardini
10th September, 2019 – Huangshi, Hubei, China: Stage 3 of Tour of China 2019 was a 138.6km circuit race around a 23.1km course. The peloton covered 6 laps of the circuit, which featured 2 intermediate sprints and 2 category 4 climbs, and a tricky hairpin leading into the final kilometer.
Shenzhen Xidesheng Cycling had the pace in their firm grasp for the entire opening lap, the peloton completed their first go-around with an average speed well over 50 km/h. Burgos BH initiated the unsuccessful assault to the race’s first intermediate sprint, which was won by Ho Kyoung Park from KSPO Bianchi Asia Cycling. Aliaksei Shnyrko (Ningxia Sports Lottery Livall Cycling Team) snatched the first KOM points of the day.
Into the latter half of lap 3, break of the day escaped from the peloton, consisted of 7 riders including Chinese riders Zhishan Zhang (Tianyoude Hotel Cycling Team) and Zheng Zhang (Hengxiang Cycling). They established a time gap over 60s. At the second sprint for KOM points, Zheng Zhang attacked out of the group and secured the points. Two riders then dropped back into the bunch, while Zheng Zhang and company continued to work together toward the line. With 46km to go, Zheng Zhang launched yet another attack, securing the second intermediate sprint and wrapped up a fruitful day for Hengxiang.
Towards the final stage of the race, Tegshbayar Batsaikhan was the last man standing. His time trial prowess stretched the time gap into 1’36, before getting caught by the charging peloton. Burgos-BH was among the teams leading the charge, setting a searing pace into the sprint. The hairpin at 1km to go called for aggressive tactics, Androni Giocattoli – Sidermec attempted a late attack with Mattia Frapporti but was brought back with 500m remaining. Korean rider Ho Kyoung Park piped Marco Benfatto (Androni Giocattoli – Sidermec) at the line, claiming the stage victory and an intermediate sprint on the day, rounding out the podium was Benfatto’s compatriot Andrea Guardini (Bardiani CSF).
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