The winner of the queen stage of 2019 Tour de Taiwan from the selected group of 30 riders. James Piccoli (Elevate – KHS Pro Cycling) launched a late attack and won the stage ahead of the hectic sprint. Jonathan Clarke (Floyd’s Pro Cycling) and Etienne van Empel (Neri Sottoli – Selle Italia – KTM) took second and third. Jonathan is back in yellow after the stage, while other jersey holders remain their lead.
From James Piccoli, our stage winner: “Today is a really hard stage. On the beautiful road of Nantou county, Sun Moon Lake, so nice here, but the road is very hard. Our strategy was to see if we can make a small group on the climb, because that is my best chance since I don’t sprint very fast. I just tried to attack with 1km to go, and it worked.”
From Jonathan Clarke, the new leader of the race: “I am in a lot of disbelief. I didn’t think I would be in yellow tonight. I owe it all to my Floyd’s Pro Cycling teammates, especially Serghei Țvetcov and Keegan Swirbul, they were with me in the front group on the top of the climb. They took a good tempo so not many guys can attack. Without them, there is no way I take the yellow.”
Before the first intermediate sprint, the breakaway group was established, featuring Christopher Hatz (Herrmann Radteam), Marcus Culey (Team Sapura Cycling), Ka Hoo Fung (HKSI Pro Cycling Team) and Jason Oosthuizen (Team South Africa). Their advantage ballooned to 3 minutes. Marcus took most KOM points as a challenger of polka dot jersey.
Ulises Alfredo Castillo (Elevate – KHS Pro Cycling), Nicolas Zukowsky (Floyd’s Pro Cycling) joined the leaders after a long chase at 35km. Manzana Postobon Team took command of the pack. However, the gap dropped drastically on the long downhill and brought back all riders except Marcus. but the Colombians got him just before the second intermediate sprint. Nicholas White (Team BridgeLane) who became the virtual leader after gaining 3 bonus seconds. The queen stage was once all together again before we started the decisive climb to Shuan Zhang Temple.
But the race was not stabilized yet, Brian Mcculloch (Elevate – KHS Pro Cycling), Travis McCabe (Floyd’s Pro Cycling) and Akmal Hakim Zakaria (Team Sapura Cycling) organized another 3-man group, while the NIPPO Vini Fantini Faizanè and their riders started to set the pace in front of the bunch.
More teams like Israel Cycling Academy and Team Hrinkow Advarics Cycleang came up to the front and soon brought back the trio. The peloton was ever-decreasing due to the strong pace. Elevate – KHS Pro Cycling was pressing on in the front. Eddie Van Heerden (Team South Africa) attacked on the downhill part with 2 other riders but soon to be reeled.
Yuma Koishi (Japan National Team) took a solo before the KOM but peloton chased him hard and brought him back. It was Wilmar Paredes (Manzana Postobon) who extended his lead by taking the maximum points. In the end, it was all about the leading group of 30 riders. James Piccoli (Elevate – KHS Pro Cycling) crossed the line ahead of Jonathan Clarke (Floyd’s Pro Cycling) and Etienne van Empel (Neri Sottoli – Selle Italia – KTM) by a well-timed attack in the last km.