Tour of Hainan: Marycz in the breakaway of the day, Stępniak again in top 10

Jarosław Marycz made his presence known in the Tour of Hainan, by getting in the the breakaway of the day on Stage 7. He was caught only 3 kilometers from the line and again it came down to a bunch sprint finish. In the battle of sprinters Grzegorz Stępniak managed to finish in the top 10 for the third consecutive time. 

The beginning of the 165-kilometer stage was very lively. Many riders tried to pull away and among them was Leszek Pluciński. He was not lucky enough to create too much of a gap, but Jarosław Marycz found his way to the leading group. He went clear alongside Stepan Astafyev (Vino 4ever), Jingbiao Zhao (Hengxiang Cycling Team) and Sergiy Lagkuti (Ukraine). They built up over 4-minute lead.

Relatively early – around halfway point – Zhao got dropped. In the end also Astafyev couldn’t keep up with the fastest riders in the escape – Marycz and Lagkuti. The duo tried to outsmart and outpace the bunch, but it was not an easy task.

With 13 kilometers to go the gap was still over 1:30. The peloton did the correct math and with only 3 kilometers remaining reeled in CCC Sprandi Polkowice rider, and his fellow escapee. Again it was all about the sprinters in the finale. Grzegorz Stępniak was able to finish in 8th place and Eryk Latoń crossed the line right behind him, in 12th. Tino Thomel (RTS-Santic Racing Team) claimed the win, while Jakub Mareczko (Southeast) and Andrea Palini (Skydive Dubai Pro Cycling Team – Al Ahli Club) rounded out the podium.

The collaboration in the escape was working very well. We had agreed that we will go easily at the beginning to have something left in the tank for the decisive part of the stage. We were playing a little cat and mouse game with the peloton – whenever we slowed down they did the same. Whenever we picked up the pace, they also accelerated. Thanks to that we managed to lull the sprinters’ teams. In the end we went full gas and when we broke away with Lagkuti and when we established over 1:30 lead, we were hoping that we can go all the way to the finish. The win was also blowing in our favor, but unfortunately the power of the group was too strong – Jarosław Marycz explained afterwards.