28-Nov-2017 15:31

Asia's third 2HC race came into the horizon when 135 riders took to the start of the fourth and thus far most celebrated edition of the Tour de Hainan in China from November 11 to 19. It took just four years since its inaugural edition was won by Russian Sergey Kolesnikov in 2006 for this race on the picturesque South China Sea resort island of Hainan to gain and progress into Asia's third 2.HC status race, following in the footsteps of Le Tour de Langkawi in Malaysia and the Tour of Qinghai Lake on the Chinese mainland.

This is a race where the Russian teams have proven to be traditionally strong and defending champion Boris Shpilevsky was intent on repeating his feat this time around. The 27-year old riding for the Russian national team took charge of the yellow jersey as the overall leader from the Spanish rider Francisco Ventoso after the fifth stage finish in Chengmai and seemed unbeatable after the mountain stage on Day Seven.It took an inexplicable technical error committed by Shpilevsky himself on the final  stage in Sanya to deny him a monumental second consecutive victory and the handsome overall winner's prize packet of US$22,000.Shpilevsky committed the error of taking a wheel from the Nutrixxion Sparkasse team following a puncture in the circuit race and although he eventually won the stage in a bunch sprint, he was slapped with a two-minute penalty and as a result, dropped from first in the general classification to 37th, gifting Ventoso, who was in second, the unexpected overall win ahead of Slovenia's Grega Bole in second and Vitaly Buts of Ukraine in third. Shpilevsky however, was not to be denied the victory in the points classification, retaining at least one of his two jerseys won last year.

There was cheer for the home fans as China's Ma Haijun took home the top prize in the Asian riders' classification while the Ukraine national squad took the overall teams' title.