excerpts from Tour of Hainan.com
Niccolo Bonifazio scored his second personal stage win and Lampre-Merida’s third one as he claimed stage 6 of this year’s Tour of Hainan at the end of a very fast bunch sprint in Dongfang today.
Two Dutchmen accompanied him on stage for finishing second and third: Belkin’s Barry Markus and Drapac’s Wouter Wippert. With the time bonus, Bonifazio also moved into the lead for the second time after stage 2, on the eve of the queen stage to Wuzhishan.
“I was ahead of Lampre-Merida at that point”, Wippert recalled. “They came off me. They were just faster than me.” Belkin created a bit of a surprise by leading out Barry Markus rather than Tour of Hainan defending champion Moreno Hofland who won stage 1 but nothing since. “It looks like Moreno isn’t as good as last year”, directeur sportif Michiel Elijzen noted. “So we tried with Barry. We didn’t win but his second place is better than what we’ve achieved those past few days.”
Stage 7 will be another story as no bunch sprint is expected in Wuzhishan ten kilometers after the third category 1 climb on the course. “I’m a bit worried about tomorrow’s stage because this isn’t our specialty but we’ll look at defending ourselves”, Bonifazio warned. “The riders from La Pomme Marseille look very strong, especially Julien Antomarchi but three of them are in the top 20 and Astana is the other super team. I don’t know where I’ll end up but I definitely like this race. The roads are very nice. There are some flat stages that almost don’t exist in other Tours anymore. Asia is becoming the new sprinters’ paradise!”
Stage 7 is considered the queen stage with three category 1 climbs located between Dongfang and Wuzhishan on a 199.1km course.
Top 20 Finishers
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