12th September, 2019 – Yiyang, Hunan, China: Tour of China 2019 Stage 5 was held in Nanxian County, Hunan Province. The course today consisted of a 7.3 km circuit, the peloton would complete 5 laps before following Tuojiang River southbound until reaching Maocaojie Township, where the race turns around and head back to the start/finish line, total distance on the menu was 116km.
Hengxiang Cycling Team drew the first blood today attacking from the gun, 5 riders managed a gap of 80m in the searing heat. 5 laps of circuit racing did not create many chances for the opportunists, and the first intermediate sprint was claimed by Rohan Du Plooy from (PROTOUCH).
The high temperature of the day was 38 degrees Celsius, which proved to be a shock to the system for everyone. Break of the day didn’t put up much of a fight today before getting reabsorbed by the bunch. At intermediate sprint #2, Shenzhen Xidesheng Cycling took their chances, sending 2 riders up the road. It was just slightly out of their reach, and the second intermediate sprint of the day was snatched by blue jersey wearer Roy Effting. Marco Benfatto marked the move, crossing the line at second place, his ambition for the sprint classification is still very much alive.
From left: Mehdl Benhamouda, Marco Benfatto and Reynard Butler
As sprint trains roared into the flamme rouge, today’s stage came to its climax. Bardiani CSF navigated their way through the final right bend ahead of their rivals, but Marco Benfatto was the first to cross the line. The italian added yet another stage victory at Tour of China to his already impressive collection. Coming in second was Mehdl Benhamouda (Novo Nordisk), Reynard Butler (PROTOUCH) completed the podium for the day.
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