The breakaway with Cerny was formed soon after the flag dropped, when three riders attacked and opened up a 2’30” lead. The trio was working well together but, the peloton didn’t want to give them too much space.
The Czech rider showcased good late season form, as he won the first intermediate sprint and took second place at the KOM.
The leading group entered the final 46-kilometer circuit one minute ahead of the bunch and at the beginning of the last lap, Ryan Mullen (Trek-Segafredo) decided to launch a solo attack and Cerny couldn’t respond. The CCC Team rider was caught by the main group with around 40 kilometers to go while Mullen was brought back 10 kilometers further down the road.
Despite many attacks late in the stage, including Jonas Koch’s attempt on the final hill, it came down to a bunch sprint. CCC Team set up Mareczko for the finish moving up to the front of the peloton with two kilometers to go with the Italian taking eighth place on the line, behind stage winner Fernando Gaviria (UAE-Team Emirates).
Quotes from the Finish Line:
“It was a pretty strange sprint since many guys tried to get in the mix in the final kilometer. When the stage is so short and everyone still has fresh legs there is not too much space on the road in the end but, I was able to find a good path towards the finish and take eight place which is a nice result to start the race with. I feel that my form is still quite good and I should keep improving as the race goes on. Tomorrow is another opportunity for riders like me so, I will do my best and fight for the podium.”
“Sometimes you try really hard to get in the break and you don’t succeed and sometimes you make it almost by accident, which was the case today. The plan was to set up Jonas Koch and at the beginning, I pushed the pace to help him make his move. It turned out that the peloton let me and two other riders go so, I decided to make the most out of it and fight at intermediate sprints and categorized climbs. When I got caught I made sure to stay in the main group and finish the stage with the same time as the winner. I was able to do that and now I’m sitting in the top five on the General Classification which is always a nice thing.
Today I didn’t feel at my best due to the heat and a different time zone as we are six hours ahead. It should get better as the race progresses and I get rid of a jet lag completely.”
Gree-Tour of Guangxi
Stage 1 Beihai > Beihai, 135.6km
Top 3: 1. Fernando Gaviria (UAE-Team Emirates) 2. Pascal Ackermann (BORA – hansgrohe), 3. Matteo Trentin (Mitchelton-SCOTT)
CCC Team top 3: 8. Jakub Mareczko 34. Kamil Gradek 37. Josef Černý