As projected, the final World Tour event of the season kicked off with a bunch sprint.
Stage 1 of the Tour of Guangxi (Beihai – Beihai, 107.4 kilometers) was a fast one, and as consequence the three riders who went up the road after 20 kilometers – Silvan Dillier (BMC), Andriy Grivko (Astana) and Yousif Mirza (UAE Team Emirates) – weren't allowed by the peloton to take their maximum gap north of two minutes.
Quick-Step Floors were one of the three teams to lead the chase, which eventually resulted in the trio being reeled in on the last categorized climb of the day. There, Peter Kennaugh (Bora-hansgrohe) and Gianni Moscon (Team Sky) attacked and crested the summit with a 20-second advantage, but the bunch pushed hard on the descent and made sure of bringing them back with five kilometers to go.
Fabio Jakobsen, who so far this year has scored five victories – including Scheldeprijs, Flanders' oldest race, and the opening stage of the BinckBank Tour – sprinted to third in Beihai, behind Dylan Groenewegen (LottoNL-Jumbo) and Max Wahlscheid (Team Sunweb), thus capturing his seventh podium of what's been one of the strongest seasons a neo-pro has had in recent memory.
Going into the next stage of the Tour of Guangxi, Fabio lies in fourth overall, only a few seconds off the lead in the general classification, which should have the sprinters in the spotlight until Friday, when the race schedules the summit finish to Nongla.
Photo credit: ©Mark Van Hecke/ Getty Images