17th September, 2019 – Jianghua, Hunan, China: Tour of China II stage one saw Marco Benfatto scored yet another victory, coming in second was Youcef Reguigui from Terengganu Cycling Team, followed by Nicolas Marini(Qinghai Tianyoude Hotel).
The lumpy stage stretched 141.3 km, finishing in Jianghua. The peloton would negotiate 55 km of winding country roads in the hills before reaching the 11.5 km x 6 lap circuit portion of the race in Jianghua. Today’s parcours also included 1 category 4 climb and 3 intermediate sprints. The technical nature of the first twisty section of roads soon strung out the peloton after the gun. Due to the complexity of terrain and road conditions, no breakaway was in action during the first half of the stage.
Andrea Guardini was the first rider to make his way to the mountaintop, soon afterwards as the roads flattened, attacks started going off and a 15-men lead group was let go. Attacking out of the head of the race at intermediate sprint #1 was Tour of China I polka dot winner Zheng Zhang (Hengxiang Cycling Team). Break of the day was finally established when Vasili Strokau (Minsk Cycling Club) and Logan Shtein (Vino – Astana Motors) managed to escape from the lead group and built a 2-minute time gap, who scooped up intermediate sprint #2 and #3 along the way.
From left: Youcef Reguigui, Marco Benfatto and Nicolas Marini
Into the closing lap, Androni and Terengganu came to the front, setting a fierce pace. Strokau went clear from his breakaway companion, but only to be reabsorbed by the peloton shortly after. Bardiani CSF organized the first sprint train, but the glory belonged to Marco Benfatto, who had the better legs in the final kilometers.
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