Brad Evans talks Tour of Hainan – Stage 5

By Aaron S. Lee

Different day, same straight result for the third stage in a row as German sprinter Max Walscheid (Giant-Alpecin) once again proved he was head of the class with a stage 5 win at China’s nine-day Tour of Hainan (UCI 2.HC) on Wednesday, October 26.

The 23-year-old national road race silver medalist (2016) was forced to kick early to avoid being shut out of the finish, but managed to outmuscle stage 1 winner and previous race leader Rafael Andriato (Wilier Triestina-Southeast) and Roberto Ferrari (Lampre-Merida) at the line. Australian Brenton Jones (Drapac) was also in the mix in fourth – his fifth top 10 result of the race.

“It was a really close sprint and I had to open really early because I didn’t want to get boxed in,” said Walscheid following the 184.9km stage from DanZhou to ChangJiang. “I had strong legs but in the end the others were really strong and I had to go until the last centimetre and luckily it was enough.”

With the early race sprints behind them, riders now face what could be considered the queen stage on Thursday with two category 1 climbs, including the longest with a summit at at 722m in elevation just over 10km from the finish.

“I’m really happy with how the race has gone so far,” said Walscheid, who has no illusions of hanging on to the yellow leaders jersey after stage 6. “Tomorrow is kind of a rest day for the sprinters, so I will try to survive and stay within the time limit.

“Hopefully there is another stage for me coming up, but I don’t have big ambitions for tomorrow.”
With Walscheid expecting to surrender the lead, the door will be open for his teammates to vie for a result. However, after five hot, long days of racing in support of the current leader, that could prove to be a difficult task. 

“We have a good team here,” explained Walscheid, who along with Fredrik Ludvigsson (DEN) and four other teammates were involved in a horrific head-on collision during a training ride in Spain earlier this year. 

“But they’ve worked really hard for me in the first five days, so tomorrow they can go on their own if they want. We will work on the tactic tomorrow morning and we will see then how it unfolds.”
NZ Bike also caught up briefly with South Island native and Tour of Southland winner Brad Evans (Drapac Pro Cycling) to get his thoughts on the day…

Evans’ diary entry: Stage 5 –DanZhou to Changjiang, 159.4km
Bloody hot day today with some nice beach views. The field almost split in some cross winds, and it was pretty grippy there for a while.

In the end, we executed the perfect leadout. 

We controlled the last 3km completely, but were just beaten by some faster guys, especially German sprinter Max Walscheid. Can't do much else.

We have a hard day in the mountains tomorrow and we will be working for our two general classification riders Bernie (Bernard) Sulzberger (AUS) and Lachie (Lachlan) Norris.

I expect it to be very hard and hot on the climbs. We will try to keep our two guys up front and out of trouble.

Until next time…
Brad Evans

Stage 5 Classification
1. Max Walscheid, GER, Team Giant-Alpecin, 3:45:04
2. Roberto Ferrari, ITA, Lampre-Merida, s.t.
3. Adrian Kurek, POL, CCC Sprandi Polkowice, s.t.

General Classification
1. Max Walscheid, GER, Team Giant-Alpecin, 16:22:22
2. Roberto Ferrari, ITA, Lampre-Merida, 0:12
2. Rafael Andriato, BRA, Wilier Triestina-Southeast, 0:16

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): Lucas De Rossi, FRA, Delko Marseille Provence-KTM
Best Asian Rider (Blue Jersey): Ruslan Tleubayev, KAZ, Astana Pro Team
Most Aggressive Rider: Patryk Stosz, POL, CCC Sprandi Polkowice
Teams classification: Astana Pro Team, KAZ, 49:08:24
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