After already having taken the first two stages, Kirsten and the team were in a very strong position heading into the last day, leading both the overall and the points competition. They had to work hard once again to control the race but managed to keep it together and pick up a few bonus seconds along the way before the finishing sprint.
Stage three presented another flat profile for the riders and at just 80km in length it was always going to be a hard and fast stage. With the top of the GC being so close the team made sure to not let any of the major threats get any room up the road. This ment a lot of time chasing attacks and controlling the peloton but they managed this and coming into the final kilometres the race was still together.
The chasing had taken its toll on the team and as a result the lead-out was lacking in firepower but Kirsten managed to find her way through at the end to take second behind Giorgia Bronzini (Wiggle-Honda) and confirm her overall victory.
“We had to work hard for it today and the team were once again great and rode strong all day,” Kirsten confirmed after the finish. “We wanted to make sure that I got some seconds in the first intermediate sprint so that I was sure to take the overall if the race stayed together, and once we did this there was a was a little less pressure.
“The sprint at the end was really hectic and I lost the girls but found a way through on my own and managed second. working together as a team to keep the race together was the key today and also the confidence that the team had in me. This gave me confidence to keep challenging and everyone played their part, right down to the support staff here in China.
“The people out here are so enthusiastic about cycling and it is great to race here. Hopefully we can carry this confidence forward into Sunday’s World Cup and have a strong race there.”
“I have really enjoyed racing here in China with the team and taking on the role of road captain which was new for me,” said Julia Soek after the race.
“It is a great way to develop being given this role and it reinforced how important communication is especially when you’re leading a stage race like this.
“The goal for us was to win the overall here and to take the lead from day one was a strong start. Everybody played their part over the next two days and it all paid off today with the overall win.”
Team Giant-Shimano coach, Ruud Verhagen added: “I’m really proud of how the team rode today. They were never really in trouble and everyone worked really hard to do their work. It was a well oiled machine in motion and it resulted in a great GC victory here for the team. The GC was the most important today and it is normal that they couldn’t perform the same lead out as the previous days as they had spent a lot of energy chasing. But Kirsten was really strong to still take second at the end.
“The way the team has ridden here and the results they have got as a result is a good boost ahead of Sunday where there is another good chance of a bunch sprint.”
1 Giorgia Bronzini Wiggle Honda Pro Cycling 1:56:46
2 Kirsten Wild Team Giant-Shimano ,,
3 Shelley Olds Alé Cipollini ,,
20 Sara Mustonen Team Giant-Shimano ,,
42 Julia Soek Team Giant-Shimano ,,
72 Willeke Knol Team Giant-Shimano 0:30
78 Marijn de Vries Team Giant-Shimano 0:51