Saturday’s stage 3 of Tour of Guangxi finished in a bunch sprint with Fernando Gaviria (Quick-Step Floors) as the winner. Team Dimension Data for Qhubeka’s Bernhard Eisel did well to cross the line in 10th place.
The stage was marked by two small breakaway groups. After six kilometers, three riders distanced the peloton and open up a gap. However, the pack never let the trio get more than a couple of minutes and with 75 km left to go, it all came back together again. Several riders then tried to get away, including Team Dimension Data for Qhubeka’s Ryan Gibbons. The South African neo-pro managed to get a gap on the peloton but he was reeled back in just before the intermediate sprint.
After the GC riders had fought for bonus seconds at the intermediate sprint, the peloton relaxed a little, which gave two new riders the opportunity to get away. The duo quickly got a gap of 50 seconds before the teams of the sprinters started to chase. Ultimately, the break got caught as the riders took on the last 5 km of the stage. In the final sprint, Gaviria proved to be the fastest rider once again as he outsprinted Max Walscheid (Team Sunweb) to increase his overall lead. The Team Dimension Data for Qhubeka riders did a good job to position Eisel who did well to give the team its second Top10 result in the race.
Tomorrow, Tour of Guangxi gives the climbers and the puncheurs a rare chance to shine. Stage 4 finishes on top of a three kilometers long ascent with an average gradient of 6.5 %.
“Nic [Dougall] and Jay [Thomson] did a great job to put me in a perfect position but I just didn’t have the same fast legs as the other guys. Still, I finished 10th and I’m pretty happy with that as I’m not really a sprinter anymore. Now, we will focus on tomorrow’s uphill finish. Mekseb [Debesay] could surprise a few people there. We will definitely support him as well as we can. At the same time, we also have Daniel [Teklehaimanot] who’s super motivated and Lachlan [Morton] who is going well too. Let’s see what we can do”.