Belletti wins Tour of Hainan's long stage
Italian Manuel Belletti (Androni Giocattoli-Sidermec) capped off a hot six-hour day around China's resort island to win the Tour of Hainan's third stage.
Belletti sprinted ahead of Raymond Kreder (Team UKYO) and Dylan Page (Switzerland) in Qionghai after 231.8 kilometres.
"With the team we planned it out to perfection," Belletti said after taking the prizes.
"They were up there to guide me in. We did not take up the work to catch the escape because we wanted all of our men later for the final.
"We worked perfectly. Ballerini left me off at 250 metres, and it went well from there."
Belletti celebrated at the expense of others. Dylan Page, the race leader, has come close three days in a row without victory. He finished third today.
"My confidence is good," Page explained. "The team did an amazing job over 230 kilometres. It was more complicated to control the race today due to the length.
"I had a good position for the finish, working off the other wheels. I was on Andrea Guardini's wheel at 500 metres to race, I had the power to jump again.
"I'm disappointed not to get it, but I'm still there, I'm the leader. I'm going to give it all to win.
"I have the yellow jersey, but it's not enough. I have to win a stage because the team has been working so hard for me."
Belletti celebrated his fourth win of the season on China's southeast island. It is his first visit, and already he is enjoying it.
"It's important to win here in Hainan, it means ending your season in the best way possible," Belletti added.
"It's a beautiful race, a great group of riders participating, organised well from top to bottom. Now that I have tasted victory, I'm going to try to win again, that's for sure."
Riders went on the attack early in the long stage from Chengmai. By 15km into it, five riders were free: Wang Bo (Hengxiang), Tyler Williams (Israel Cycling Academy), Kihei Uchima (Nippo-Vini Fantini), Sam Brand (Novo Nordisk) and Nur Amirull Mazuki (Terengganu).
Their gap went up to around five minute and down again. With 33km left, it was two minutes. Team Bardiani worked for Guardini to pull the escape back. Only American Tyler Williams remained, but then under 15km, he surrendered too.
"Every time you go for it you never know what is going to happen. The peloton miscalculates occasionally, and you hope the best will happen," Williams said.
"If I can win, it's mostly from an escape. I figured today was a day where they could play around because it's long and maybe with a bigger break we'd have a better chance. Anyway, it was a good day out."
Williams was awarded for his aggressiveness. Nur Amirull Fakhruddin Mazuki (Terengganu) became the new best Asian rider in the blue lead jersey. And Page remains in yellow ahead of stage four tomorrow: Qionghai to Wanning, 142km.