Simone Ponzi kicked off Tour of Hainan with 10th place. The opening stage was taken by Rafael Andriato (Wilier-Southeast).
The race held on a Chinese island was inaugurated with a short stage. It was only 88km long and since the profile was flat, one could expect high speed and a bunch sprint finish.
4 riders tried to thwart the sprinters and broke clear early. Lucas De Rossi (Delko Marseille Provence KTM), Alex Diniz Correia (Funvic), Dmitriy Lukyanov (Vino 4-Ever) and Jingbiao Zhao (Wisdom – Hengxiang Cycling Team) gained 2-minute lead, but were never a big threat for the bunch.
The escape got caught with 8km to go and CCC Sprandi Polkowice was one of the teams that helped in the chase. The “orange squad” was pacing the main group in the final 10km as well working for Simone Ponzi.
The Italian didn’t manage to position himself at the front of the bunch for the last corner and eventually finished in 10th place.
The battle for the win was a very tight one. Max Walscheid (Giant-Alpecin) raised his arm before the line, being convinced that the victory is in his pocket, but in the very last second Rafael Andriato (Wilier-Southeast) pushed the wheel and overtook the German. The Brazilian rider was the one who could celebrate not only the stage win, but also the overall lead.