Mikkel Honoré is our highest-ranked rider after the opening stage.
He started his first pro season in January, at the very first World Tour race of the calendar, the Tour Down Under, and will conclude it in China, at the last stop on the circuit, the Tour of Gunagxi, but Mikkel Honoré is still going strong, as proven by his spirited display on stage 1 of the Asian event, a 135.6km-long trek around the city of Beihai.
Part of a three-men breakaway which animated the stage and enjoyed a maximum advantage of two minutes, Mikkel picked up four bonus seconds at the two intermediate sprints before returning in the peloton, where Deceuninck – Quick-Step continued to be an active presence.
Leader of the UCI World Team Classification, our squad put in several searing attacks with the likes of Rémi Cavagna – fourth at last year’s edition – and Pieter Serry, who made the sprinters’ life difficult and forced their teams to burn riders early in order to nullify these moves, which kept coming deep into the stage.
As expected, it all came down to a mass gallop, and Fernando Gaviria (UAE Team Emirates) beat Pascal Ackermann (Bora-hansgrohe). Davide Martinelli was there for the Wolfpack, and the 26-year-old Italian showed a strong turn of legs, taking seventh on the line. This result now spells two Deceuninck – Quick-Step riders in the top 10 overall, Mikkel Honoré, who sits in fifth place courtesy of the bonifications, and Martinelli, tenth ahead of Friday’s flat stage to Qinzhou.
Photo credit: ©Justin Setterfield/ Getty Images