Dylan Kennett is continuing his electric form in the latter stages of the road season. The St. George Continental Cycling Team rider has taken the win in the prologue time trial of the Tour of Taihu Lake and successfully defended his overall lead after the first road stage.
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Wuxi played host to the prologue stage of the Tour of Taihu Lake; the ninth edition of the race. 121 riders from 21 teams took on the 5.5km flat course including Kiwis Dylan Kennett, Morgan Smith, Tom Hubbard and Matt Zenovich of St. George Continental Cycling Team and Hamish Schreurs of Israel Cycling Team. All riders were taking on the prologue on their road bikes as opposed to time trial rigs.
Times were predictably close together at the top of the leaderboard, with the top 5 separated by 10 seconds. Kiwis Schreurs, Zenovich, Smith and Kennett all slotted into the top 20 on the stage; separated by 21 seconds with all of them averaging upwards of 50kph for the course.
The day belonged to St. George Continental Cycling Team though, whose three riders in the top ten – Kennett, Ben Dyball and Zenovich – was enough to give the team the lead in the teams classification by 19 seconds. But Dylan Kennett stood at the top of the standings at the end of the day with his time of 6.09mins – an average speed of 53.659kph – putting him 3 seconds up on teammate Dyball and 7 seconds up on UnitedHealthcare’s Serghei Tvetcov
Kennett’s performance was exceptional, with the Kiwi looking well in his element and calling on his track talent well honed over the last several years.
“It’s been a target of mine for a few months now,” Kennett said after his win. “Our team owner, Brett, messaged me after the Commonwealth Games and he said ‘how would you like to come and do this race’ and he said they’re are likely chances are with the prologue. And to get the job done today and to have Ben run second to me as well was really good for the team and I’m really stoked.”
Stage 1 of the race saw a bunch sprint gallop decide matters at the end of 85km, again starting and finishing in Wuxi. The stage belonged to Juan Sebastian Molano of Manzana Postobon who launched a sprint off of the wheel of UnitedHealthcare Pro Cycling’s Carlos Alzate to come through and fend off the challenge of Georgios Bouglas of Nigxia Sports Lottery-Livall Cycling Team and Daniel Lopez of Burgos-BH.
By finishing safely in the bunch, Kennett ensured that his overall lead remained 3 seconds to Dyball and now 5 seconds to Alexander Cataford of UnitedHealthcare, while Matt Zenovich climbed up a place to 8th on GC; 14 seconds behind his teammate and compatriot.
Stage 2 of the race takes the field 130.6km from Jurong to Maoshan in what is expected to be another bunch sprint finish; despite a couple of rolling sections including a short but steep 8.2% climb after 110km.