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"I was aware there would be many opportunities for the sprinters here in Hainan, that's why I trained heavily in order to be ready to exploit them."

Photo: Sirotti






25.10.2014 @ 12:03 Posted by Emil Axelgaard

Niccolo Bonifazio continued the impressive run of Lampre-Merida success when he won stage 6 of the Tour of Hainan in a bunch sprint. Knowing that the race offered lots of opportunities for the sprinters, the Italian has prepared hard for the race and is glad to see his sacrifices pay off.


Lampre-Merida again took the victory in the Tour of Hainan, thanks to the success of Niccolo Bonifazio in stage 6. The Italian neopro also took the leader's jersey in the Chinese race.


Thanks to the win, Lampre-Merida have achieved 3 wins in Hainan, 2 of them with Bonifazio and have worn the leader's jersey for three stages. Bonifazio has taken 5 wins in 2014 and Lampre-Merida have raised their arms 26 times.


The stage was pretty easy so 5 escapees were allowed to attack after 50km of the race. Lampre-Merida controlled them with Xu Gang and Matteo Bono who kept the gap below the 3-minute mark. The final attacker was caught with 2500m to go in time for Ferrari to work as the final lead-out man and set Bonifazip up for the sprint.


"Another perfect performance by the team gave another victory," Bonifazio commented. "Today everyone at Lampre-Merida was great and I'm happy I could achieve this success, despite a problem in the sprint when Palini who was protecting my rear wheel, almost crashed.


"I was aware there would be many opportunities for the sprinters here in Hainan, that's why I trained heavily in order to be ready to exploit them.


“My condition is good. I prepared well for this race. I specifically trained for sprinting and I improved a bit, so I’m very happy with the good job done. The team has ridden behind the breakaway until 2km to go, then I followed [Roberto] Ferrari who delivered me at 200m to go. Unfortunately, [Andrea] Palini who had to stay behind me got boxed in. But I’m very happy. The team work has been perfect. We form a nice group here and I hope we’ll be able to reproduce at other races in the future what we are doing here.”

Stage 7 will be another story as no bunch sprint is expected in Wuzhishan ten kilometers after the third category 1 climb on the course. “I’m a bit worried about tomorrow’s stage because this isn’t our specialty but we’ll look at defending ourselves”, Bonifazio warned. “The riders from La Pomme Marseille look very strong, especially Julien Antomarchi but three of them are in the top 20 and Astana is the other super team. I don’t know where I’ll end up but I definitely like this race. The roads are very nice. There are some flat stages that almost don’t exist in other Tours anymore. Asia is becoming the new sprinters’ paradise!”



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