2015 Tour of Qinghai Lake Stage1: Xining Circuit Race
Kump outsprints Gavazzi to claim opening stage at Qinghai Lake
Slovenian Marko Kump opens Tour of Qinghai Lake with a win over last year’s two-time stage winner Mattia Gavazzi…
By: Aaron S. Lee
Xining, CHINA—The 14th ‘Qinghai Rural Credit Cup’ Tour of Qinghai Lake (UCI 2.HC) opened with a thrilling bunch sprint as Slovenian Marko Kump (Adria Mobil) edged Italians Mattia Gavazzi (Amore & Vita-Selle SMP), who won two stages at the race last year, and Marco Zanotti (Parkhotel-Valkenburg) on Sunday, July 5.
The victory marks the 11th win of the season for the 26-year-old, who is fresh off a top 10 finish (eighth) at his national road race championships last week, including a GC win at the Tour of Malopolska (2.2) in June and a points title at the Tour of Azerbaïdjan (2.1) in May.
“Everything I try to do is to finish the job,” said Kump post race. “I am super happy and the team spirit is at the highest level.”
After several days of consistent rainfall, Xining turned on its charm with a stunningly sunny day over the seven-lap, 121-kilometre ‘Qinghai Rural Credit’ circuit race sitting at 2500 metres in elevation. The peloton was eager to get underway and opened the first 10km in aggressive style.
Three riders jumped early, including Ukrainian Sergiy Lagkuti (Kolss-BDC), Azerbaïdjani Elchin Asadov (Synergy Baku) and Mongolian Maral-Erdene Batmunkh, and led after 22km until being joined by reigning two-time Tawain road race champion Chun Kai Feng (Lampre-Merida).
The break eventually shrunk to Lagkuti before being joined by six, then five, for a total of 12 lead riders with a 44-second gap before being swallowed up by the surging peloton for the final bunch kick championed by Kump.
“It was a classic opening stage,” Kump told media afterwards. “It was a big breakaway, but for us it was okay. We had a rider in front, but still we were pulling behind to make sure there was a bunch sprint and in the end it was which was just perfect for us.
“My teammates did a nice job all day so yeah, I’m happy.”
As for the altitude, Kump admitted that he, like everyone, was feeling its effects on the day.
“It’s an altitude that is not so easy,” he explained. “We can feel a difference in our lungs and in our heart rate. Everything is just harder and there is also jetlag, but that is pretty much the same for all the riders.
“We should get more acclimatised over the next few days.”
With the win, Kump sits atop both the general classification and points lead over Gavazzi and Zanotti, while China’s Feng Qiao (Ningxia Sports Lottery-Focus) leads as the best Asian rider over Hong Kong’s Burr Ho (HKSI Pro Cycling) and Iran’s Hossein Alizadeh (RTS-Santic).
The 13-day UCI Asia Tour stage race continues on Monday with a second possible bunch sprint in the 188km ‘Jingdu Natural Water’ stage 2 from Duoba to Datong.
1. KUMP Marko (ADR)
2. GAVAZZI Mattia (AMO)
3. ZANOTTI Marco (PVC)
GC(Yellow Jersey): KUMP Marko (ADR)
Points(Green Jersey): GAVAZZI Mattia (AMO)
Best Asia(Blue Jersey): QIAO Feng (FUS)