Top Ten Finishes for Roche, Hermans and Wyss in China and Japan22. October 2017, Mashan Nongla Scenic Spot (CHN) / Utsunomiya (JPN) — Road Team
Nicolas Roche and Ben Hermans showed their form on the uphill finish with third and fifth respectively at the Tour of Guangxi, while at the Japan Cup Cycle Road Race, Danilo Wyss crossed the line in ninth place.
Roche Climbs to Third Place on Tour of Guangxi Queen Stage
Nicolas Roche crossed the line in third place after a tough uphill battle on the queen stage of the Tour of Guangxi which now sees Roche sit in third place on the General Classification with two stages remaining.
Four riders formed the day’s breakaway 10km into the 151km stage and the peloton quickly sat up to allow the quartet’s advantage to stretch out to more than seven minutes in the opening 50km.
BMC Racing Team and Quickstep-Floors assumed control of the race and began to pick up the pace in the peloton to slowly bring the breakaway back over the flat terrain.
After 100km, the gap had been reduced to under four minutes and from there, it quickly came down to under one minute with the final 3km climb looming.
Just 50 seconds separated the breakaway and the peloton with 15km to go and eventually 6km before the finish line, the catch was made.
Roche was well-positioned at the front of the bunch and avoided a crash to then attack with 2km to go with Tim Wellens (Lotto Soudal) and Bauke Mollema (Trek-Segafredo) just behind.
Roche claimed the KOM but was overtaken on the false flat before the finish line by Wellens, who claimed the win ahead of Mollema and Roche, while Ben Hermans followed closely behind in fifth place.
BMC Racing Team has three riders in the top ten overall with Roche in third place, Hermans in fifth place and Silvan Dillier in eighth place, and Roche now leads the King of the Mountain classification.
Quotes from the Finish Line
“The finish was quite hectic but the crash didn’t bother me as we stayed to the left hand side of the road out of trouble. The team did a great job all day to chase the breakaway and keep us well-positioned. We wanted to take some responsibility so we put Floris Gerts up there straight away to chase and then Manuel Senni, and then Joey Rosskopf and Daniel Oss did the last effort to position us before the climb when it became a drag race with the other teams. We saw in the last few stages on these big open roads that everyone tries to get around you with the strong head wind so it can be really chaotic. So, we decided to take the race on and I think our plan to not save energy but instead use all of the guys paid off. Daniel made it a hard pace going into the climb and I knew that it flattened out a bit with 2km to go so that would be a good place to make a move. I attacked and went clear but was caught with about 800m to go by Tim Wellens (Lotto Soudal). Wellens was stronger and rode myself and Bauke Mollema (Trek-Segafredo) off his wheel with 500m to go.”
“You never know what can happen in the final two days with the bonus seconds. It’s going to be quite tough as the intermediate sprints are well placed. But, you just never know which these stages and on these big roads.”
Marco Pinotti, Sports Director:
“There was a crash about 2km before the climb. We are lucky because none of our riders were involved, except Floris Gerts and Manuel Senni who were stuck behind the crash as they had already finished their work for the day.
“The breakaway went away and the peloton was putting pressure on us and Quickstep–Floors to work so we put Gerts up there from the beginning. The time gap wasn’t coming down enough in the finale so we also put Manuel Senni and Joey Rosskopf up there to help. But most of our riders were up the front anyway which was good as they avoided the crash. We had three cards to play in the final with Silvan Dillier, Ben Hermans and Nicolas Roche. Nicolas attacked with about 2km to go and was able to take the KOM but he was then caught on the false flat before the kick up to the finish.”
“We have two stages left but because of the bonus seconds available on each stage, the race is still very open. The actual stages are not very selective for the GC riders but no spot is safe especially as there are some riders in the top ten who are also fast. We are in a good position with two riders in the top five. The goal is to move up and try and win a stage. Tomorrow’s stage is more than 200km so anything can happen as it’s not an easy day to control.”
Tour of Guangxi
Stage 4 Nanning > Mashan Nongla Scenic Spot (151KM)
Top 3: 1. Tim Wellens (Lotto Soudal), 2. Bauke Mollema (Trek-Segafredo), 3. Nicolas Roche (BMC Racing Team).
BMC Racing Team top 3: 3. Nicolas Roche, 5. Ben Hermans, 18. Silvan Dillier.
Wyss Ninth Overall at Japan Cup Cycle Road Race
Danilo Wyss finished in the top ten at a rain-soaked edition of the Japan Cup Cycle Road Race which was shortened due to the inclement weather.
The peloton battled it out over ten laps, rather than the original 14, of the 10.3km circuit in Utsunomiya, before the race eventually came down to a small group sprinting for the line with Marco Canola (NIPPO Vini Fantini) taking the win.
Wyss spent the majority of the day in a nine-rider chase group around one-minute behind the leading three-rider breakaway before the race came back together inside the final 20km.
Attacks in the final lap allowed five riders to go clear to take the first five places while behind, Wyss sprinted for the remaining top ten places from the peloton.
Quotes from the Finish Line
“The rain was full gas the whole day and there is even a typhoon coming so that shows how bad the weather was. I was part of a good breakaway that went away on the second lap. I thought we would have a good chance to go to the finish behind Fumi Beppu (Trek-Wegafredo) was in there so no body would try from behind. Three riders went away so we were chasing them. I think we went a bit too slow and it was hard to find a good pace so the peloton came back about halfway through the race. After we caught the breakaway, a group of five riders went away with two laps to go. I was a bit on my own and couldn’t get there so I was part of the small peloton and did the sprint from there.”
“This is my first time racing in Japan. Even with the bad weather all weekend, the atmosphere has been great and there have been lots of people out at both races so I’ve really enjoyed it.”
Japan Cup Cycle Road Race
Utsunomiya > Utsunomiya (103km)
Top 3: 1. Marco Canola (NIPPO Vini Fantini), 2. Benjamin Prades (Team Ukyo), 3. Amurayama Kumi (Utsunomiya Britzen).