Brad Evans talks Tour of Hainan – Stage 3

By Aaron S. Lee

German Max Walscheid powers to stage win and yellow jersey, and NZ Bike gets the latest from Kiwi and reigning Tour of Southland winner Brad Evans.

Riders faced a second straight 200km-plus stage at the 11th Tour of Hainan (UCI 2.HC) on Monday, October 24.

With milder temperatures and less humidity, the peloton successfully chased down the break across nearly the entire breadth of the 209.2km stage 3 from Haikou to ChengMai after exerting a 230km effort in sweltering conditions the day before.

German giant Max Walscheid (Giant-Alpecin) outmuscled the bunch sprint to claim his first pro win and leapfrog stage 1 winner and previous race leader Rafael Andriato (Wilier Triestina-Southeast) of Brazil. Andriato is now second on general classification (GC) just 6 seconds off Walscheid and tied on time with stage 2 winner and Best Asian Rider jersey holder Ruslan Tleubayev (Astana Pro Cycling) of Kazakhstan.

“We were close on the first stage, and yesterday we also got a good result,” said Walscheid, who took second on stage 1 and fourth on stage 2. “We just thought if we bring everything together with the team, we would be fine and we are really happy to get my first win today.

“It is not just a victory for me, but rather for my whole team.”

When asked of the possibility of defending yellow, the 23-year-old Walscheid offered no illusions.

“The Yellow jersey is not an option for us because I am not the best climber, and there are still one or two mountain stages to come,” said the imposing (199cm, 89kg) three-time under-23 Tour of Berlin (2.2U) stage winner and 2016 national road race silver medallist.

“We are happy to have it now and for sure we will try to defend it in the upcoming stages, and hopefully there is another podium or win possible.” 

From the start of the race, an eight-man break launched within the first 10km and quickly became a group of seven. That break would eventually extended its lead to over five minutes (5:10) after 45km of racing before the peloton began to pick up the chase.

With 40km to go, four riders split from the break, including Colombia’s Carlos Ospina (RTS-Monton Racing), China’s Guangtong Ma (Wisdom-Hengxiang Cycling Team), Australia’s Lachlan Norris (Drapac Pro Cycling) and France’s Lucas De Rossi (Delko Marseille Provence-KTM), before being reeled in 20km later.

A flurry of attacks in the final 15km from Hy Sport-Look Continental and Giant-Champion System Pro Cycling proved fruitless.

With the win, Walscheid also assumes the green points jersey from Astana’s Alexey Lutsenko (KAZ), while China’s Jingbaio Zhao continues to hold the polka-dot ‘King of the Mountain’ (KOM) jersey.

NZ Bike caught up with 2015 Tour of Southland winner Brad Evans (NZL) to talk about stage 3 and his Drapac teammate.

Evans’ diary entry: Stage 3 –Haikou to ChengMai, 209.2km 
It was another long 209km at the office.
The day was warm, but not crazy hot with a shower to cool things off. Just have to keep the hydration up and tick over the kilometres. Tomorrow more of the same, I would predict.
Today, we put Lachie in the move, as a couple of other strong teams were present. Being such a long day and with a well-organised chase, it was not a successful one. 
We did a great leadout and showed we are one of the strongest teams here. Bernie Sulzberger (AUS) took the lead from Astana under the ‘1km to go’ banner, then I took over. 
Unfortunately Brenton Jones (AUS) got a bit lost and boxed in. BJ finished in seventh place and moves back up to fifth on points classification with six stages remaining, including a few more sprint opportunities.
Sprinting is a real lottery sometimes and we will have our day – I am sure.
Until next time…
Brad Evans

Image credit Adrian Hoe / Tour of Hainan

Stage 3 Classification
1. Max Walscheid, GER, Team Giant-Alpecin, 5:09:08
2. Andrea Pasqualon, ITA, Team Roth, s.t.
3. Tino Thömel, GER, RTS-Monton Racing, s.t.
General Classification
1. Max Walscheid, GER, Team Giant-Alpecin, 5:09:08
2. Rafael Andriato, BRA, Wilier Triestina-Southeast, 0:06
3. Ruslan Tleubayev, KAZ, Astana Pro Team, s.t.
Classification Leaders
Race Leader (Yellow Jersey): Max Walscheid, GER, Team Giant-Alpecin
Points Leader (Green Jersey): Max Walscheid, GER, Team Giant-Alpecin
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: Luca De Rossi, FRA, Delko Marseille Provence-KTM
Teams classification:  Lampre-Merida, ITA, 37:53:12

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