Daily Diary: Jason Christie talks Tour of Qinghai Lake - Stage 2

By Aaron S Lee

It was a calmer day for the reigning New Zealand road race champion on stage 2 after the opening stage dramatics made headlines around the world.

DATONG, China—A day after more than a third of the peloton was brought to the ground in a mass pileup inside the final 2km of the opener in the 15th Tour of Qinghai Lake (UCI 2.HC), including the top three sprinters on stage 2, the mood was much more relaxed on the 165km parcours from Xining to Datong – the same stage that took out several riders in a crash-marred finish last year.

Italy's Jakub Mareczko (Wilier Triestina-Southeast) almost made it look easy beating five-time stage winner and last year's points champion Marko Kump (Lampre-Merida), as well as Australian and former BMC Development Team rider Jesse Kerrison (State of Matter-MAAP) by more than a wheel on Monday, July 18.

With two of 13 stages complete, the race sees a new leader in Vitaliy Buts (Kolss-BDC), who slips into the yellow jersey two seconds ahead of stage 1 winner Miguel Rubiano (China Continental Team of Gansu Bank) with Mareczko in third place overall on same time as second place.

The 29-year-old Ukrainian, who claimed all three intermediate sprints, was part of three-man break which launched prior to the start of three 42.2km laps, and stayed away until final 3km before be swallowed by the surging peloton.
For reigning New Zealand road race champion Jason Christie (Kenyan Riders Downunder) it was a much calmer day, one that he was hoping for in an effort to stay safe and keep his legs fresh for less sprinter-friendly stages to come.

 NZ Bike chatted with Christie post race to get his thoughts on stage 2.

Christie's diary entry: Stage 2 – Xining to Datong, 165km
With everyone still reeling from the massive crash at the end of the opening stage yesterday when a spectator unexpectedly walked head first into a speeding peloton rocketing toward the finish at 50km/h, as well as the moto that hit my teammate and countryman Morgan Smith, I was hoping for a much calmer day on the bike.
Today was another stage where I expected a bunch sprint to be contested at the finish. From what people had said prior to the start of the stage the finish was really dodgy and would likely to have crashes as it did last year.
We kicked off in cool conditions and were happy to see the sun and some warmer weather for 90 percent of the stage. A small group of three got away and was slowly brought back as we negotiated three 42.2km laps after a 38km start.
In total it was a 165km day.
The circuit wasn't great with the majority of it being on slabbed roads, which were narrow and really dirty. Anyway, we had a relatively easy day and a bunch kick was contested as expected but with no crashes thankfully.
I really think they should have finished the stage in the centre of town along the long main thoroughfare.  It would have made for a more exciting final. However there was a good crowd, and the parcours was relatively easy with a slight uphill for 20km with the other 20km or so downhill.
Today wasn't very scenic for me, but to each their own.
As for Morgan, he ended up suffering a concussion and will be sent home in a day or so after further observation. Not only are we disappointed at the loss of a teammate, but he is required to have someone accompany him back home, which means we lose a staff member for about four days until he can return for the final four.
That leaves us with just one staff personnel for a third of the race, which is less than ideal when we are facing such stiff competition. But we will make the most of it and do our best. With the circuit races now behind us for a while, now's the time to stretch our legs a bit and see what we can do.
I'm excited to see what lies ahead.
Until then, stay tuned...
-Jason Christie

Stage 2 Classification
1. Jakub Mareczko, ITA, Wilier Triestina-Southeast, 3:41:54
2. Marko Kump, SLO, Lampre-Merida, s.t.
3. Jesse Kerrison, AUS, State of Matter, s.t.

General Classification
1. Vitaliy Buts, UKR, Kolss-BDC, 6:02:08
2. Miguel Rubiano, COL, China Continental Team of Gansu Bank, 0:02"
3. Jakub Mareczko, ITA, Wilier Triestina-Southeast, s.t.

Classification Leaders
Race Leader (Yellow Jersey): Vitaliy Buts, UKR, Kolss-BDC
Points Leader (Green Jersey): Daniele Colli, ITA, Nippo-Vini Fantini
Best Asian Rider (Blue Jersey): Hamid Pourhashemi, IRI, Pishgaman Cycling Team
Most Aggressive: Vitaliy Buts, UKR, Kolss-BDC

Aaron S. Lee is a cycling and triathlon columnist for Eurosport and a guest contributor to NZ Bike Magazine. Image credit: Adrian Hoe.
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