Jason Christie talks Tour of Qinghai Lake – Stage 12

By Aaron S. Lee

Jason Christie time trials his way to a top 10 result at the 15th ‘Qinghai Rural Credit Cup’ Tour of Qinghai Lake and gives NZ Bike the story.

ZHONGWEI, China—Kolss-BDC has been a step above at the 15th ‘Qinghai Rural Credit Cup’ Tour of Qinghai Lake (UCI 2.HC) for the past two weeks of the 13-stage, 1,916km Asia Tour road race.

Not only does the Ukrainian-registered UCI Continental team enjoy a substantial lead in the teams classification heading into the final stage on Saturday, they have claimed three stages from three different riders and held a tight grip on the two leaders jerseys for both general- and points classifications.

On Friday, reigning three-time Ukrainian individual time trial (ITT) champion Andriy Vasylyuk (UKR) gave Kolss the hat trick with a 16-second ITT win over Slovenian Matej Mugerli (Synergy Baku Cycling Project). Teammate and stage 6 winner Sergiy Lagkuti (UKR) crossed the line 12 seconds later on a hot and windy 23km course in Zhongwei, China.

The surprise of the day came from 2011 under-23 New Zealand time trial champion and reigning road race champion Jason Christie (Kenyan Riders Downunder), who was awarded ‘most aggressive rider’ honours following a failed 90km solo breakaway the day before.

The 25-year-old Christchurch native spent more than 30 minutes on the hot seat as the stage leader before finishing seventh overall (0:50).

“Perhaps I left too much out on the road yesterday,” admitted Christie. “I knew stage 11 was going to end in a bunch sprint, which it did, so I thought I better try and flip the table on them, but it didn’t pay off with a win as I had hoped.

“Today wasn’t the ideal day, but I left it all out on the road, gave it my all and had a good time in the process.”

With the third-place finish, Lagkuti, who was sitting behind teammate and former race leader Vitaliy Buts (UKR) by five seconds prior to the start, replaces Buts for the overall lead with just a 95km Baiyin circuit race remaining.

“In the first 11 stages, the team helped Vitaliy gain the yellow jersey,” said Lagkuti of stage 4 winner Buts holding the yellow jersey since stage 3. “In this stage, my situation was better, so I took the yellow jersey and I hope I can keep the yellow it until the end of the race tomorrow.”

Buts, who trails current points leader Daniele Colli (Nippo-Vini Fantini) by just four points, now drops to third overall, 1:03 behind the new race leader and 26 seconds behind new runner up Mugerli (0:37).

NZ Bike talked further with Christie while on the hot seat to get the inside gossip on his top 10 stage result.

Christie’s diary entry: Stage 12 – Zhongwei Individual Time Trial, 23km

What a day!

The 12th stage of the Tour of Qinghai Lake was a 23km individual time trial. After having a hit out on a 90km solo breakaway the day before, I wasn't entirely sure how I'd feel for this stage but hoped for the best.

The riders were sent off in one-minute intervals starting at 10am. After what was maybe my smallest warm-up ever, I was off at 34 minutes past the hour, and set into my pace.

It was up a small rise for the first 3km and then a small downhill (which didn't really feel like it), and then basically straight on a six-lane road with a few corners for the next 20km. My minute-man came and went as I managed to catch him within the first 4km. This is generally a good sign in a TT, so I continued to suffer throughout the remainder of the stage.

I did make a mistake, crossing to the other side of the six-lane road a couple of times during the race, which would maybe mean a 15-second time loss, but with a headwind for the majority of the race, it was hard to know exactly where to ride.

Anyway, I came through the finish and managed to take the fastest time of the day by that stage, putting me in the hot seat where I would sit for a good 30 minutes or more. In hindsight, I did think maybe I should've taken it easier the previous day instead of going on a solo 90km breakaway, but even with or without that breakaway, I was happy and believed I had done a fairly good time.

I was knocked off the hot seat by a Lampre rider and in the end finished seventh. Now for another transfer to the last town of the tour, where we will have our final stage tomorrow.

Until next time, stay tuned…

Jason Christie

Stage 12 Time Trial Winner.

Stage 12 Classification
1. Andriy Vasylyuk, UKR, Kolss-BDC, 28:35
2. Matej Mugerli, SLO, Synergy Baku Cycling Project, 0:16
3. Sergiy Lagkuti, UKR, Kolss-BDC, 0:28
General Classification
1. Sergiy Lagkuti, UKR, Kolss-BDC, 51:44:18
2. Matej Mugerli, SLO, Synergy Baku Cycling Project, 0:37
3. Vitaliy Buts, UKR, Kolss-BDC 1:03
Classification Leaders
Race Leader (Yellow Jersey): Sergiy Lagkuti, UKR, Kolss-BDC, 0:28
Points Leader (Green Jersey): Daniele Colli, ITA, Nippo-Vini Fantini
Mountains leader (Polka Dot Jersey): Mauricio Ortega, COL, RTS-Santic
Best Asian Rider (Blue Jersey): Yevgeniy Gidich, KAZ, Vino 4ever SKO
Teams classification: Kolss-BDC, 125:17:08

Aaron S. Lee is a cycling and triathlon columnist for Eurosport and a guest contributor to NZ Bike Magazine.

Image credit Adrian Hoe / Tour of Qinghai Lake.
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