In an unexpected turn of events, Belarusian cyclist Hanna Tserakh of Li Ning Star Ladies stole the spotlight in the second stage of the Tour of Chongming Island. She out-sprinted Martina Fidanza of Ceratizit-WNT and Chiara Consonni of UAE Team ADQ in a thrilling climax to the 128.6km stage from Shanghai to Chongming.
Tserakh’s triumph came despite an early solo breakaway from Olga Zabelinskaya of Tashkent City Women, who at one point had a substantial lead of nearly three minutes. However, as the race progressed and the peloton entered the final kilometres, Zabelinskaya’s lead was whittled down to a mere 30 seconds, thanks to relentless efforts from the sprinters’ teams. Eventually, she was caught just after the flamme rouge, setting the stage for a sprint finish.
For Tserakh, the victory not only marks a high-level win for her and the Li Ning Star Ladies team but also puts her in the coveted leader’s jersey, ahead by one second of the previous leader and stage 1 winner, Mylène de Zoete. Consonni trails by two seconds, making the general classification a tight affair going into the final day of racing.
Stage 2 of the race started on the neighbouring island of Changxing and featured a category 4 climb over a road bridge and three intermediate sprints. The day’s only mountain sprint occurred just nine kilometres into the race on a cable-stayed bridge that crossed the Yangtze estuary, standing as the race’s highest point at 72 metres. Laura Tomasi of UAE Team ADQ was the first to crest the bridge, setting the pace for what was to come.
As the peloton moved through heavy rains, Zabelinskaya seized the opportunity to attack. She built an advantage that at one point reached 2:52 minutes. The Uzbek rider even bagged both intermediate sprints, collecting six bonus seconds, while Daria Pikulik picked up three, and Consonni took two.
With just 32 km remaining, Zabelinskaya’s lead had fallen to a minute, but the peloton appeared reluctant to close the gap too quickly. Only when Laura Asencio of Ceratizit-WNT took a long turn at the front did her lead finally diminish, setting up for a sprint showdown.
Wearing the yellow jersey, De Zoete attempted to lead out Fidanza for the win. As Fidanza launched her sprint, Consonni followed closely behind, and Tserakh made her decisive move, powering past both to cross the finish line first, earning the biggest victory of her career so far.
The results from the second stage put Tserakh ahead in the general classification by just one second, adding a layer of intrigue to the final 112.3km stage. The last stage will again culminate in Chongming’s New City Park and includes another category 4 climb as well as three more opportunities for intermediate sprints, promising an exhilarating finale to the Tour.
2023 Tour of Chongming Island Stage 2 result
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