Watch me in Coloane, warns Wong
Hong Kong hope still confident after Russian rider Grishkin wins his third stage
The Tour of South China Sea may be turning into the Oleg Grishkin show, but Hong Kong star Wong Kam-po says the main act has yet to be played out.
Grishkin captured his third stage victory to easily retain the yellow jersey at the end of yesterday's fifth stage in Zhongshan, extending his lead to 13 seconds over Wong, who must now step up a gear if he wants to win his first Tour in three years.
The Russian track specialist again showed his prowess in a sprint finish to lead home the 170-strong field at the end of the 80km criterium at the Zhongshan Torch Development Zone.
Wong, who wore the yellow jersey for two days, came home 12th but insisted a fifth Tour of South China Sea could be won in the hills of Coloane in Macau tomorrow. 'I am waiting for the seventh stage in Coloane. That race would suit me better because there are a few tough climbs. The last two stages were held over very flat surfaces. I still have a chance of winning this,' said the 30-year-old.
Coach Shen Jinkang said Wong was not getting the support he needed from his Pocari Sweat Hong Kong teammates, although he expected brighter days in the remaining three stages. 'The Hong Kong riders are largely inexperienced and are no match as a team compared to the Russians or the Australians.
'Our riders are still not good enough, but I am sure they will try their best and make it a little easier for [Wong] Kam-po,' said Shen.
'The Coloane stage should provide Kam-po with conditions that suit him. It will be a critical stage and he would have to make his move there. We're confident he will do well.
'There's still a chance for him to win the Tour,' said the former national Chinese coach.
Wong nearly lost second place yesterday as a mere second separates him from Australia's Brett Aitken, who finished on the podium for the fourth time.
Sydney Olympic gold medallist Aitken continued his brilliant run, despite suffering from a sore throat and a bout of flu. He finished second in Zhongshan yesterday, while another Russian, Sergey Koudentsov - winner of stage three in Shenzhen - was third.
All the riders finished with the same time, but Grishkin received a 10-second bonus for winning the stage.
'I was a bit lucky to have won the stage again because I have very good teammates to help me,' said the Moscow City Sports Association rider, who finished the race in one hour, 49 minutes and three seconds. 'If I had gone one-on-one with Aitken in the sprint, I think I would have lost. Aitken is a better sprinter than me I think, but I had my teammate, Sergey, to help me for which I am grateful.'
Grishkin also had stage victories in Sha Tin on Christmas Day and Guangzhou on Sunday and barring a disaster today should retain the prized yellow jersey as the Tour moves to another flat stage at the Zhuhai International Circuit.
'I was in a good position to make my sprint and Sergey helped me a lot. I really don't know whether I can retain my yellow jersey because there are still three stages to go and anything can happen,' said Grishkin.