14th September, 2019 – Ningyuan, Hunan, China: The final stage of Tour of China I concluded in Ningyuan earlier today. Today’s stage 6 stretched from Yongzhou to Ningyuan, total distance was 131.8km. 1 intermediate sprint and 2 category 4 climbs along the way introduced some suspense in classification standings.
It was another searing hot day. Memil Pro Cycling and Shenzhen Xidesheng did the lionshare of early breakaway control. Roy Effting (Memil Pro Cycling) snatched the intermediate sprint, while the first category 4 climb was claimed by previous overall winner of the race Kevin Rivera (Androni Giocattoli – Sidermec).
As the first group of escapees were reabsorbed, break of the day was established halfway into the stage, which consisted of Zheng Zhang (Hengxiang Cycling), current blue jersey holder Marco Benfatto and 5 other riders. The gap was stretched to over a minute. Zheng Zhang first crossed the line on the second ascend to the category 4 climb.
25km before the finish, a massive lead group of 36 riders were split from the peloton. With the finish line fast approaching, Burgos-BH sent Matthem Gibson up the road, lighting up the final kilometers of Tour of China I. The five men lead group held their advantage well into the last 5km, Memil Pro Cycling attempted to bring them back for their sprint leader, but the rolling terrain did not play to their advantage. As they say the fortune favours the bold, the escapees held off the chase until the end, crossing the line in first place was Mykhaylo Kononenko (Xidesheng Cycling Team), followed by Alessandro Pessot (Bardiani-CSF) and Matthem Gibson (Burgos-BH).
From left: Zheng Zhang, Marco Benfatto, Jeroen Meijers and Ran Hao
Jeroen Meijers (Taiyuan Miogee Cycling Team) took the overall victory, in second place was Roy Eefting(Memil Pro Cycling), rounding out the podium was Yauhen Sobal from Minsk Cycling Club. Zheng Zhang (Hengxiang Cycling Team) climbed to the top of KOM classification, while Marco Benfatto(Androni Giocattoli – Sidermec) further cemented his status at this race with a sprint classification victory. Best rider of the Greater China went to Ran Hao(Mitchelton – BikeExchange), while his team secured the best greater China team.
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