Brad Evans talks Tour of Hainan – Stage 2

By Aaron S. Lee

NZ Bike catches up with Drapac’s Brad Evans to get is thoughts on a sweltering 230km day won by Astana’s Ruslan Tleubayev.

Astana’s Ruslan Tleubayev (KAZ) cruised to an uncontested sprint victory on the second stage of the Tour of Hainan (UCI 2.HC) on Sunday, followed by teammate and fellow countryman Alexey Lutsenko (KAZ). 

The duo caught the field off guard with a sneak attack in the final 300m in Haikou – the largest city on China’s southern island province of Hainan.

“Today we had a plan before the race,” said Tleubayev. “My form is really good and my team did everything to help me win today.”

The 29-year-old made it look easy, thanks in large part to Lutsenko, who filled the role Tleubayev usually serves for team sprinter Andrea Guardini (ITA), who is currently racing the Abu Dhabi Tour (2.HC).

“Our strategy worked exactly as we had planned,” explained the 2012 under-23 world road race champion, Lutsenko. “I was the last rider remaining for Ruslan and at 200m I told him to go. I am very happy for him to get the win.

“We were just too strong today.”

Stage 1 winner and current race leader Rafael Andriato (Wilier Triestina-Southeast) finished fifth behind Max Walscheid (Giant-Alpecin) and Roberto Ferrari (Lampre-Merida) to round out the top 5 on the day. The result keeps the 29-year-old Brazilian in yellow with Tleubayev in second on the same time. Lutsenko lifts the green points jersey off Andriato and moves up to third (from fifth) on general classification just one second behind them both.

Following the race, NZ Bike also caught up with Brad Evans (Drapac Pro Cycling) to get his take on the longest stage of the nine-day, 1,500-kilometre UCI Asia Tourstage race.

Evans’ diary entry: Stage 2 – Xinglong to Haikou, 230.2km
It sure was a long day at the office. It was a very hot day to start but luckily the rain nicely cooled things down.
A weak breakaway meant that it wasn't too hard to control. We were going well holding a side of the peloton, although we did get lost from the two first guys. 
It was a super fast run in with a tail wind. I did a good strong pull to put Graeme Brown (AUS) and Brenton Jones (AUS) in a good spot to start the sprint. However, Astana had a good tactic that worked out for them to get a gap with a guy dropping the wheel. BJ finished in sixth.
Everyone is going pretty good at the moment. Most of the guys on the team are Australians, so they are used to racing in the heat. 
We are looking forward to some harder days and harder finishes, so it will suit our leadout more with the race being strung out. I am enjoying it as I think leadouts are great fun going full gas with a big train.  
Although, possibly not going to enjoy the rain on the forecast ahead. We’ll see.
Until next time…
Brad Evans

Photos credit: Adrian Hoe / Tour of Hainan

Stage 2 Classification
1. Ruslan Tleubayev, KAZ, Astana Pro Team, 5:33:26
2. Alexey Lutsenko, KAZ, Astana Pro Team, s.t.
3. Roberto Ferrari, ITA, Lampre-Merida, s.t.
General Classification
1. Rafael Andriato, BRA, Wilier Triestina-Southeast, 7:28:26
2. Ruslan Tleubayev, KAZ, Astana Pro Team, s.t.
3. Alexey Lutsenko, KAZ, Astana Pro Team, 0:01
Classification Leaders
Race Leader (Yellow Jersey): Rafael Andriato, BRA, Wilier Triestina-Southeast
Points Leader (Green Jersey): Alexey Lutsenko, KAZ, Astana Pro Team
Mountains leader (Polka-dot Jersey): Jingbaio Zhao, CHN, Hengxiang Cycling Team
Best Asian Rider (Blue Jersey): Ruslan Tleubayev, KAZ, Astana Pro Team
Most Aggressive Rider: Murilo Affonso, BRA, Funvic Soul Cycles-Carrefour
Teams classification:  Astana Pro Team, KAZ, 22:25:48

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