Fernando made hat-trick in Nanning
date:2017-10-22 source: hits:

Following the path of Ireland’s Sam Bennett at the Tour of Turkey last week, Colombia’s Fernando Gaviria (Quick-Step Floors) won his third stage in a row at the Gree UCI WorldTour Tour of Guangxi ahead of the crucial stage to Nongla but it wasn’t a walk in the park for him to fend off Germany’s Maximilian Walscheid (Sunweb) in Nanning at the end of an 8-km spectacular finishing straight. Denmark’s Magnus Cort Nielsen (Orica-Scott) rounded out the podium.

Daniel Oss (BMC Racing Team), Nuno Bico (Movistar) and Jack Haig (Orica-Scott) rode away from the pack after 6km of racing. They got a maximum advantage of 2.10 at km 15. Oss won the first intermediate sprint at km 30 and the first KOM price at 36.8 to protect the positions of his team-mate Silvan Dillier in both the overall and the mountain classifications. As he came second to Bico in the second KOM price at km 68.6, the advantage of the leading trio was down to 55 seconds. There were a lot of motivated riders in the peloton so it was all together again after 72km of racing.

The second intermediate sprint at km 93.6 was a very interesting one with Julian Alaphilippe (Quick-Step Floors) outsprinting Dillier to take three seconds bonus. After the sprint, Matej Mohoric (UAE Team Emirates) and Lawson Craddock (Cannondale-Drapac) rode away. They got a minute gap but it was all together with 5km to go and all set for a third bunch in a row. Until the end, Walscheid challenged Gaviria but the Colombian found some extra motivation to throw his bike on the line and collect his thirteenth win of the season, only one down on his team-mate Marcel Kittel who tops the tally of the victories for 2017.

Ahead of the crucial stage from Nanning to Nongla Scenic Area (151km) with 3-km of climbing to finish with, Gaviria leads the Gree UCI WorldTour Tour of Guangxi by 13 seconds over Dillier, 18 seconds over Walscheid, 27 seconds over Alaphilippe and Wilco Kelderman (Sunweb), 29 seconds over Nicolas Roche (BMC Racing Team) and 30 seconds over most of the participants.

Post race quotes

Stage winner and race leader Fernando Gaviria: “It’s always good to win. To do it three times here in China is really good. It’s not my first time winning three stages in the same race, I got four at the Giro d’Italia but three in a row is a first in my career. It was a very different sprint today because of the finishing straight being eight kilometers long. It was very difficult and very fast. The guy from Sunweb [Maximilian Walscheid] is really strong. He’s also the tallest rider in the bunch! He did a good sprint but I’m glad to be the winner again. A win is a win. Every day, my team delivers me in perfect position. Tomorrow is the most important stage for me. I’ll wait for the last 3-km to see what I can do on GC. Julian Alaphilippe is our other option for the overall win. He took an important intermediate sprint today but I couldn’t help him for that. I was in the middle of the peloton. If he’s got good legs tomorrow, I’ll work for him.”

King of the Mountain Silvan Dillier: “I got another two seconds bonus in an intermediate sprint today. But it was a very hard one to get. Unfortunately, I couldn’t beat [Julian] Alaphilippe. He’s the main contender for the overall classification here. He sprinted on a very good timing. I came a little bit short. But tomorrow, there’ll be a lot of other guys from different teams who will be able to target the GC. It was open for everybody in the team to make the breakaway today. With Daniel Oss ahead, it was good for us. He was very strong at the beginning of the race. He deserved to be up there. He did well in the first intermediate sprint. It’s good for me and for the team. We were on TV all day and active again, which is always important.”

Most active rider Daniel Oss: “My breakaway was in order to keep some seconds bonus away from our rivals and also to make a show. But the bunch kept us comfortably under control. It was good to try something before that special 8-km long finishing straight. I’ve never seen such an end of a race in the professional ranks. Everybody arrived here with a lot of energy left. The Gree UCI WorldTour Tour of Guangxi is my last race for BMC. I have to say thanks to BMC for these five years. I’m also looking forward to racing with Peter Sagan [at Bora-Hansgrohe] next year. It’s something special for me to go with him after being with [arch-rival] Greg Van Avermaet in the classics in recent years. It should be fun.”

Sporting stakes for stage 4

Stage 4 is set to be the decisive stage for the overall classification of the inaugural Gree UCI WorldTour Tour of Guangxi. The last 3-km to Nongla Scenic Area are challenging with three hairpins to start with. Some gradients are up to 10%, followed by a long false flat before the final steep 150 meters. It looks perfect for Julian Alaphilippe (Quick-Step Floors) who made his ambitions clear by winning the second intermediate sprint on stage 3 and therefore taking an advantage of three seconds over his direct rivals. He also won the mental game. His explosiveness is likely to make it a very spectacular finale. However, it’s unclear how a versatile sprinter like Fernando Gaviria (Quick-Step Floors) can defend himself. Shall he lose no more than half a minute, he’d become the hot favorite overall. But he might as well win stage 4!

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