Stage Eight of the UCI 2.HC Tour of Hainan did not provide many highlights as Gordon McCauley
retained his overnight fifth position on General Classification whilst his Subway – Avanti Cycling Team
retained its second place behind the Ukraine National Team.
Any form of concern for the team on the extended 185 kilometre journey from Dongfang to the tour start
city of Sanya was when sixth-placed Matthias Brandle (Elk Haus) rode clear of the peloton in an effort to
pick up an intermediate sprint bonus that would have leap-frogged him over McCauley. However the
team rallied to close the 35 second gap to the Austrian that negated the potential threat.
Earlier a five-rider breakaway built a three minute lead on the main field controlled by the teams of
German-registered Nutrixxion Sparkasse and Russia. This move though was nullified after the first of the
three categorized climbs when firstly the leaders were reduced to three, and from the sustained increase
in acceleration of the peloton having recognized the potential of the move should it have been allowed
any further freedom.
The majority of the field was present for the looming bunch sprint finish in Sanya as the Italian Carmiooro
A-Style team took over the pace-making with the intention of Francisco Ventoso sprinting best to take the
winner’s time bonus. However Ventoso’s sprint was bettered by both tour leader Boris Shpilevsky
(Russian National Team) and Joel Pearson (Savings & Loans) that enabled the yellow jersey to extend
his overall advantage over the Spaniard. James Williamson finished a creditable tenth.
McCauley’s overall fifth place almost came unstuck when he punctured with three kilometres to ride.
Fortunately he was credited with bunch time despite rolling in a minute and a half behind.
The ninth and final stage in Sanya will be a circuit race on a 6.6 kilometre course totaling 79.2 kilometres.
Of the 135 riders that started the tour, 104 remain. The Subway – Avanti Cycling Team is one of five
teams that still retain its full compliment of seven riders.