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Tour of Hainan 2016 Stage 3

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photo credits @ Tour of Hainan

German rider 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, 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.

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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.

However, De Rossi’s participation in the break earned him his second ‘Most Aggressive Rider’ award following the race.

“The race is long, but I want to be in the front and I am very happy to get the combativity award,” said the 21-year-old mountain biker-turned-road cyclist, who just recently signed on as a stagiaire with Delko in August. “I’m trying to get KOM points, so I will continue to be aggressive.”

Journalists also talked with De Rossi’s veteran teammate and newly signed Delko rider Thomas Vaubourzeix (FRA), formerly of the now-defunct Lupus Racing Team (CT), to get his thoughts on the French neo-pro.

“Our focus was getting Lucas in the mountains jersey,” said Vaubourzeix, a 2014 Tour of Qinghai Lake (UCI 2.HC) stage winner and eight-time race leader, who attempted a solo attack to bridge the gap with 10km to go. “I tried to go to the front to help Lucas, but that plan did not work out.

“Lucas is a great young rider, and this is his first professional race,” he continued. “This experience will give him confidence to find a good result for himself and do a good job for the team.”

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.

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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
1. Race Leader (Yellow Jersey): Max Walscheid, GER, Team Giant-Alpecin
2. Points Leader (Green Jersey): Max Walscheid, GER, Team Giant-Alpecin
3. Mountains leader (Polka-dot Jersey): Jingbaio Zhao, CHN, Hengxiang Cycling Team
4. Best Asian Rider (Blue Jersey): Ruslan Tleubayev, KAZ, Astana Pro Team
5. Most Aggressive Rider: Luca De Rossi, FRA, Delko Marseille Provence-KTM
6. Teams classification: Lampre-Merida, ITA, 37:53:12

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