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Chloe Hosking third in chaotic Chongming Island stage one sprint

Wiggle High5 Pro Cycling’s Chloe Hosking added another to her impressive list of podium places in the Tour of Chongming Island, with third place in the chaotic sprint of stage one in Chongming. The Australian was beaten to the line by fast-finishing Ting Ying Huang (Chinese Tapei), with Leah Kirchmann (Liv-Plantur) in second place, as the wide boulevard  finish had its usual disruptive effect on the organised teams in the peloton.

“I wasn’t really sure where my legs were at today,” Hosking said afterards. “I’ve been struggling in the last few races so while third isn’t the victory we had hoped for I can definitely take some kind of confidence from it going into the next two days.”

With virtually nothing on the flat, straight roads of Chongming Island to split up the peloton, Wiggle High5 Pro Cycling was one of a number of teams determined to stop a surprise breakaway from taking the stage honours. Two riders did manage to escape with 40 of the stage’s 139km left, but they were kept under control and pulled back well before the finish.

“The whole team were really impressive today,” Hosking said. “We went in with a plan to push the pace over the bridge which also doubled as the only climb for the day but it just wasn’t having any effect on the back of peloton.

“In the last 40km a break of two got away which I was concerned about because Olga [Zabelinskaya, BePink] was in it. Dani [King], Mayuko [Hagiwara], Anna [Christian] and Amy [Roberts] worked hard to keep the gap under a minute and then closed it with about 15km to go with the help of some other teams.”

Unfortunately, the finish did not go quite to plan for Wiggle High5 Pro Cycling’s sprinters, with the usual chaotic final kilometres seeing Hosking and former two-time Junior World Champion Lucy Garner separated. Just as Wiggle High5 Pro Cycling’s Giorgia Bronzini was forced to sprint for herself in last year’s World Cup race on the same course – and take the victory – Hosking had no option but to go it alone.

“Lucy and I were hanging out and talking about what we wanted to do in the sprint,” Hosking explained. “My legs weren’t great so I had said I’d lead her out for the sprint but in typical China style the finish was chaotic and there were so many crashes and near misses. Lucy lost my wheel and I was already in position so I just had to make the best out of the situation which today was third.

“Of course I wish it was the top step but given how my legs were feeling I’m not totally disappointed.”

Despite losing contact with Hosking, Garner finished well in the front of the peloton, and the 21-year-old took the Best Young Rider jersey, which she will wear on stage two.

1. Ting Ying Huang (Chinese Taipei)
2. Leah Kirchmann (Liv-Plantur)
3. Chloe Hosking (Wiggle High5 Pro Cycling)

Photo Credit: Sean Robinson/Velofocus

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