Tour of Guangxi (et. 5)
Spaniard close to victory in Guilin after huge turns by team-mates to split bunch into hills near finish in penultimate Guangxi stage; Trentin grabs win in selected field’s sprint.
The Movistar Team was closer than ever this week to a victory in their final race of 2018, the Tour of Guangxi, during a very wet, difficult, long (212km) stage five from Liuzhou to Guilin, the city where the Telefónica-backed squad’s season will come to its end on Sunday.
Carlos Barbero took 4th place into a selected sprint, barely over 50 riders into the field, won by Matteo Trentin (MTS) after a pile-up into the finishing straight, which affected, amongst many others, Frenchman Arnaud Démare (FDJ). To get there in that situation, the Pablo Lastras-led Movistar army made a huge gamble picking up the pace into the last two Cat-2 and Cat-1 climbs. The Spanish team tried to break a bunch which was reduced to only 20 riders into the last descent, later growing to over 70 members on the flat as the Blue pushed together with Pascal Ackermann’s (2nd) Bora-Hansgrohe team.
Alongside Barbero, Jasha Sütterlin (16º), Winner Anacona, Jorge Arcas and Rubén Fernández (13th) finished into the first group, the latter still as top Movistar Team rider overall in 7th spot, 25″ behind Gianni Moscon (SKY). Sunday will be the last chance for them to shine in a Guilin circuit race over 169km, with two KOMs in the second half of the course which aren’t certain to avoid the sprinters playing its part again.
Picture (c): BettiniPhoto.net