Stage 2 winner Lucas Carstensen rides to help Africa
Lucas Carstensen of Germany won stage 2 of the 13th Tour of Hainan after he opened his 2018 record book with stage 1 victory at the Tropicale Amissa-Bongo in Africa in January. His team Bike Aid is set for helping Africans to cycle. Swiss national team member Dylan Page took over from Jakub Mareczko in the lead of the overall classification after coming second in the bunch sprint finish for the second day in a row.
“It’s different and similar at the same time to compete in Africa and Asia”, Carstensen explained. “In Africa, the roads are much smaller than here. But here and there, we don’t find as many corners as in Europe. In Gabon and here in China, I managed to beat sprinters from the Pro Continental teams, that’s how I find some similarities. My team Bike Aid is a non-profit organisation from Germany that supports a lot of projects and welcomes some riders from Africa and give them opportunities to race all over the world and show their talent. That’s what our team is about and that’s why we have #Ridetohelp on our uniforms.”
Stage 2 had a very challenging start with many attacks, one of them featuring Gatis Smukulis of Delko Marseille-Provence KTM and Jannik Steimle of Vorarlberg-Santic who went clear at km 15 but were reined in two kilometres further. 12 riders were more successful after one hour of racing: Luca Pacioni (Wilier Triestina), Luca Wackermann (Bardiani CSF), Nathan Elliott (Bennelong-Swisswellness), Clément Carisey (Israel Cycling Academy), Antonio Santoro and Peter Schulting (Monkey Town), Mauricio Ortega (Ningxia-Livall), Simon Pellaud (Switzerland), Robbie Hucker (Ukyo), Patrick Schelling (Vorarlberg-Santic), Fausto Masnada (Androni Giocattoli-Sidermec) and Smukulis again.
Schulting outsprinted Pacioni at the only KOM price in Chengmai at km 67 before the loop to the northern coast of Hainan. Masnada won the first intermediate sprint at km 76.7 and rode away with Pellaud at the second one at km 98.8. Wilier Triestina took the command of the peloton with two riders before Bardiani CSF’s Mirco Maestri came in help but Masnada and Pellaud kept their advantage of 1’30’’ from 30km to go to 10km to the end. The duo at the front was very efficient but they faced a headwind at the end and lost any hope of winning the stage when they were swallowed by the peloton 150 metres before the line.
Second again, Pellaud’s team-mate Page is the new race leader before the longest stage, 231.8km from Chengmai to Qionghai.
Quotes of the day:
Lucas Carstensen (Bike Aid), stage 2 winner: “It’s been a very tight sprint with four guys inside one meter. I jumped on the back wheel of a guy who sprinted a bit early and I managed to pass him in the last ten meters of the race. I had a crash earlier on but with no damage and it had no effect on my sprinting. This is the biggest victory I ever had. Being a member of a continental team, we can’t get any bigger start than in a HC race like the Tour of Hainan. It’s really great for me to win here.”
Dylan Page (Swiss national team), 2nd on stage 2 and new race leader: “We prepared for the sprint in a smarter way today than yesterday. We have a very strong team and we have wanted to show it in putting our train together in the last kilometre. We knew there was the risk of launching the sprint too early and it would come back from behind. That’s what happened. My lead out man Fabian Lienhard gave the way 250 metres before the line. One rider passed me. It’s always hard to jump on someone’s wheel that’s already busy. We had my team-mate Simon Pellaud and Fausto Masnada in sight. It was sure we’d catch them so I tried to speed up again when we overtook them. It came down to the last 50 metres. I threw my bike to the line. Several riders were on the very close. It was hard to tell who had won. I’m second but the good news is that I become the race leader. I don’t have the victory I’m looking for in Hainan yet but a yellow jersey is always beautiful. We’ll do our best with the team to retain the lead, hoping that the yellow jersey will boost the Swiss team because our goal is to win a stage or two. It would be even better to win with the yellow jersey than the green jersey I had today.”
Raymond Kreder (Ukyo), 3rd on stage 2: “In the last 100 metres, I had no power left anymore. But I’m happy with the third place. Yesterday I got caught behind the crash so I couldn’t do a proper sprint but today it went well and I’m happy to be on the podium. My team gave me a great lead out. I was following Dylan Page today. But I wasn’t strong enough to beat him. There should be other opportunities for a sprint finish. Tomorrow is another one and we’ll try again.”
King of the Mountains Peter Schulting (Monkey Town): “The sprint for the only KOM today was like going for a stage win, going up against Luca Pacioni who is a very good sprinter. Before the race, I told my team-mates I’d try to go for the polka dot jersey. I was at the front and I gave everything for it. It’s nice to have it now but I’m here for the GC so it’ll be difficult to focus on the KOM. However, I’m sure to keep it for three days now, that’s nice.”
Most active rider Fausto Masnada (Androni Giocattoli-Sidermec): “I’m disappointed to have been caught so close to the finishing line (150 metres). I started the stage quietly because I’m here to race for GC. But after one hour of racing, some big groups begun to go clear. As it included other GC riders, I put myself inside a group of a dozen of riders. The cooperation wasn’t good. There were attacks and counter-attacks. After the second intermediate sprint (km 98.8), I rode away with a rider from the Swiss national team [Simon Pellaud]. We have believed to make it for the stage win, especially at 5km to go when we still had 30 to 40 seconds lead, but unfortunately, at 150 metres, they caught us… The road was wide and we faced a head wind. The peloton went faster than us. It’s good to realize that I have good legs after I missed out on Il Lombardia due to sickness.”