Roelandts Just Outside Top Ten After Hectic Finale on Longest Stage of Tour of Guangxi20. October 2018, Guilin (CHN) — Road Team
Jürgen Roelandts finished just outside the top ten on Tour of Guangxi stage 5 after a hectic finale saw the stage come down to a reduced, and crash-marred, bunch sprint for the line.
The penultimate day of racing in China was also the longest of the week and saw the peloton tackling a 212.2-kilometer course from Liuzhou to Guilin that featured four categorized climbs, the final one of which topped out with a little under 35 kilometers to go.
Going over the top of the first KOM, after over 70 kilometers of racing, the day’s early four-rider breakaway, was sitting over four minutes ahead of the peloton and their advantage continued to rise to almost five minutes.
The next three climbs came in quick succession and as the road began to rise once again for the breakaway, the main bunch, which had started to pile on the pressure with race leader, Gianni Moscon’s Team Sky teammates setting the pace, had cut the gap in half.
On the final climb, the only category one ascent of the day, the race exploded with the peloton splitting on the descent and a group of 70 riders, including the original breakaway, drawn out at the front of the race. Roelandts, Stefan Küng and Nathan Van Hooydonck were all sitting in the first part of the main bunch inside five kilometers to go and it was clear that victory would come down to a fast and furious sprint.
It was a chaotic finale with a crash just 300 meters from the finish line, forcing Roelandts to lose some of his speed in the final, crucial moments of the day and he eventually secured 11th place behind winner, Matteo Trentin (Mitchelton-SCOTT).
Quotes From the Finish Line:
“The first time it got a bit nervous in the bunch was at kilometer 150, on the small climb before the two last climbs, and I think at that point, it became a question of legs. The last climb was really hard and I was a little bit dropped there but I came back to the first group on the descent with Stefan. There only around 70 guys and we were going really fast as they [BORA-hansgrohe] wanted keep Jakobsen and Groenewegen out of contention as Ackermann was in front.”
“I was actually keeping on the wheel of Trentin for most of the finale but with 800 meters to go, I got a little blocked in and lost a few positions when they started to sprint. I was then also just next to the crash when it happened and it took me by surprise a little so I had to stop pedaling for a moment and eventually I finished somewhere around the top ten.”
Sports Director, Jackson Stewart:
“Today was the longest stage of race and we were definitely active at the beginning but after a while, we could see that it wasn’t going to be a day for the breakaway. We were hoping that the climbs would be significant enough to do some serious damage to the main bunch and that we would still have a few of our guys up there, which we did, but the group was still pretty big and the race came down to a bunch sprint. We were happy that we were able to stay out of trouble when the crash happened in the final and now we turn our attention to the finale stage tomorrow.”
Tour of Guangxi
Stage 5: Liuzhou > Guilin, 212.2km
Top 3: 1. Matteo Trentin (Mitchelton-SCOTT) 2. Pascal Ackermann (BORA-hansgrohe) 3. Jasper Stuyven (Trek-Segafredo)
BMC Racing Team Top 3: 11. Jürgen Roelandts 17. Stefan Küng 32. Nathan Van Hooydonck