Tour of Hainan, stage 6 2015
Tour of Hainan, stage 6
Mareczko strikes at pro level for the first time
By 7Cycling Jeff Quenet
The sixth bunch sprint finish of the Tour of Hainan saw a fourth different winner as 21 year old Italian neo-pro Jakub Mareczko of Southeast claimed his first real pro victory after Andrea Palini, Sacha Modolo and Benjamin Giraud took the laurels on the Chinese island. Modolo retained the overall lead with an advantage of nine seconds over Palini.
“I really wanted this first win today after I failed in the first two stages due to crashing”, Mareczko reacted. “I came third in stage 3 but I was still missing the top spot. I’m happy. Since day one, my team believed in me and they kept believing in me until I achieved it. This victory means a lot to me. I’ve had some time at home to gear up for the Chinese races. After Hainan, I’ll do Taihu as well. I’m improving. At the beginning of the season, at Le Tour de Langkawi in Malaysia, I’ve been close to winning for the first time in HC race [twice second and third]. Now I’ve made it but I don’t want to stop here. I’m hoping for more before I return to Europe.”
Mareczko’s four previous victories were acquired at category 2 level at the Vuelta Tachira and Vuelta Venezuela. In Sanya, he was led out by Andrea Dal Col. He was smart enough to wait till the last minute after Drapac led the field in the run in to the final sprint with a curve 700 metres before the line. Modolo looked to have taken a good advantage of the Australian again before his young compatriot passed him.
“There’s not much to explain”, Modolo commented. “I sprinted like the other times, starting 200 metres before the line, but I didn’t know there would be a head wind to finish with. I was surprised. I feel sorry for my team after the amount of work they’ve done.”
Mareczko added that he was also unaware of the head wind. “I won because I was in a really good shape today”, said the Polish-born Italian sprinter who lives in Raffa di Puegnago near the Garda Lake. “The crashes didn’t affect me too much. I got cured. I’m not in pain anymore. I just have some bruises left.”
The first part of stage 6 included three categorized hills. Julien El Farès of Marseille 13-KTM was first at all of them and took the first polka dot jersey of the tenth Tour of Hainan. He and his team-mate Rémy Di Gregorio indicated their high ambitions for the queen stage on the penultimate day of the race. Best Asian rider Ma Guangtong of Hengxiang increased his lead as he took two more seconds bonus through a breakaway that put his compatriot Niu Yikui under the spotlight. The 21 year old member of the local team Hainan Yindongi-Wildto was the last escapee to surrender with only 4km to go. A runner up at the Chinese national championship last year, he hails from Heilongjiang like Giant-Alpecin rider Ji Cheng and calls the first Chinese to have completed the Tour de France (in 2014) “his brother”.