Tour of Hainan: Ponzi 6th in another battle of sprinters

After 3rd place in stage 4, CCC Sprandi Polkowice recorded another top 10 performance in Tour of Hainan. This time it was Simone Ponzi who finished 6th in the sprint.

There were 185 kilometers to cover, from Danzhou to Changjiang, on stage 5 of Tour of Hainan. It featured another flat course which suited the sprinters.

The breakaway of the day was established after first KOM (cat. 4), at 7km, which was won by Alexey Lutsenko (Astana Pro Team). The escape included Christopher Williams (Team Novo Nordisk), Thomas Vaubourzeix (Delko Marseille Provence KTM), Peter Koning (Drapac Professional Cycling), Sergio Sousa, Patrick Jager (both Team Vorarlberg), Ronald Yeung, Jingbiao Zhao (Wisdom – Hengxiang Cycling Team). At one point they could enjoy a 6-minute lead.

The group was reduced to 5 riders, when Koning got dropped and Zhao decided to wait for the peloton after getting points for the mountains classification.

With 50km to go the Team Vorarlberg duo attacked, leaving the rest of the escapees behind. 10 kilometers later Jager punctured and Souse was leading solo.

World Tour teams were pushing the pace in the bunch and later CCC Sprandi Polkowice also joined them in their efforts. When the lone leader’s gap was around 1 minute, Alex Diniz (Funvic Soul Cycles – Carrefour) and Gang Xu (Lampre-Merida) decided to bridge across.

The sprinter teams were not going to let the stage win slip away and brought the race back together with 6km to go. It was another top 10 performance for the “orange squad”. This time it was Simone Ponzi who contested the sprint in the finale, taking 6th. Also yesterday’s top 3 finisher, Adrian Kurek was among the fastest, taking 11th.

Overall leader, Max Walscheid (Giant-Alpecin) claimed his third consecutive win, beating Rafael Andriato (Wilier – Southeast) and Roberto Ferrari (Lampre-Merida).