Sebastian Berwick wasn’t going to take his chances with an early celebration on stage 2 of Tour of Hainan, instead waiting until his front wheel hit the white finish line to throw his arms in the air after a perfectly timed move inside the last kilometer.
“I’m super relieved, and just really, really happy that I was able to pull it off,” admitted Berwick, who also moves into the overall lead with three stages remaining.
The race may have started with a fast and furious 90-kilometer stage yesterday, but today’s 215-kilometer test, combined with the hot and humid conditions, made for a long and tough day of racing.
After multiple breakaways were pulled back throughout the stage, one of which was a two-man move with Berwick and Oscar Sevilla, the group was back together approaching the finale, where IPT had cards to play.
“It was a really interesting final and I don’t think any of us knew exactly what to expect because the road book and VeloViewer said different things so we were just going with intuition, the signs, and what we thought would happen. I timed the attack really well. There were three guys up ahead with my teammate Ben Hermans and I launched just before the top, and I was able to get a gap and power it through the technical and twisty downhill towards the finish line”, explained Berwick.
Hermans followed his race plan and after launching a move inside the flame rouge, he was able to hold on for third place on the stage and move into third overall, while Mason Hollyman made it three IPT in the top-ten.
“We had a plan as we had three or four cards to play so everyone had to do their job,” said Hermans. “I had to attack just in the last kilometer, just before the top of the last climb. I knew in the moment I was going that it wasn’t the best moment as we were still with six or so guys but I committed to the plan and I still thought I would have a chance even if they caught me. But then Seb came from behind and this was the perfect move as from there it was downhill, so I knew straight away that Seb would win the race. I was really happy to see that as he has helped me in the past and he really deserves it. Tomorrow will be a hard stage but Sebastian deserves us controlling the race for him and if we do our job, I am sure he can win this race overall.”
Berwick has just a one-second lead over Sevilla on the General Classification, while Hermans is six seconds behind.