Aussie Repacholi wins Shuang Shan Island Race

Wang Xian 2nd and Daniel Carruthers 3rd
Australian rider Douglas Repacholi, who is here to race with the China Trek team at the UCI Taihu Lake Tour, took a convincing win over his breakaway companions Wang Xian and Daniel Carruthers (Velocite Bikes).
How it unfolded
50 elite riders lined up in blustery conditions on Shuang Shan Island as part of the amateur series of events that is tied to the Taihu Lake Tour. There were only two teams with any presence; Cui Yinhao’s China Trek Team comprising Thousand Island Lake winner,  Douglas Repacholi, and Liu Heng. The other strong team was Triace – whom are known to consistently perform at races on the domestic China scene.  The formidable riders include Liu Min, Wang Lei, Feng Kuanjie and Feng Kuangao.
The circuit was around the perimeter of the island and was 16.1km per lap ridden three times. It was completely flat but the exposed nature of the island made it a very tough race with riders battling strong head and cross winds.
Riders began tentatively, no one wanting to attack or assert their strength too early; just playing the waiting game to see who will go first. It was not long before the first barrage of attacks came. Wang Lei (Triace) had a good dig but was quickly reeled back in before a counter-attack was launched by one of the China Trek riders.  His move was also nullified and yet another Triace attack sailed up the road, only to be snuffed out by the chasing peloton eager for action. Ex-professional Cui Yinhao hammered it out into the wind and quickly established a good gap to which Daniel Carruthers (Velocite Bikes) quickly jumped across. There were gaps opening up in the single file as the pace of 50km/h plus was sustained. The duo were caught quickly enough, but this allowed for a perfect counter-attack move by eventual winner Douglas Repacholi – Daniel Carruthers saw this threat and quickly sprinted across to Repacholi’s wheel.  The pair started rotating quickly to further consolidfy the gap; they were quickly joined by Triace’s Feng Kuanjie and inspirational rider Wang Xian who rides with no hands!
The four-man breakaway quickly got to work like a slick well-oiled machine; with every rider doing even turns at the front.  After completing the first lap at warp-like speed, it was obvious that the leaders would continue to drive home the advantage – provided they co-operated long enough.  Mid-way through the second lap, Feng Kuanjie punctured out of the break, which was unfortunate for Triace as Feng was looking comfortable.

Carruthers, Repacholi and Wang continued to work together well and only started slowing down at the 8km to go mark. Knowing that they were assured of top three, the break eased off the gas slightly and started taking softer pulls. With four kilometres remaining, Carruthers was on the front finishing a pull into the head wind and pulling off – Repacholi launched a blinding attack that took Carruthers completely by surprise.

The attack immediately got a gap of 20 metres with Wang Xian safely tucked into the slipstream. Despite a furious chase by Carruthers at 50km/h into the wind, he was unable to close the gap – which hovered at 5-10 seconds for a while. Once Wang Xian started working with the Aussie, it was game over for a fast fading Carruthers who could only grimace for the next three kilometers to finish 38 seconds behind the winner and 15 seconds behind Wang Xian.

In the end it was a comfortable win for Repacholi who is in China for the first time to race the UCI 2.2 Taihu Lake Tour that starts on November 1. It was a perfect race for the Aussie to dust out any cobwebs after his travel ahead of the 5-day UCI Tour which he will be supporting China Trek’s Liu Heng.
The peloton finished a whopping three minutes behind the breakaway trio and the bunch gallop to the line was quite dangerous – with several riders crashing in the last 300m to the line, including popular sprinters Cui Yinhao and Wang Lei.

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