Enric Mas took the final victory of the WorldTour season, taking the overall title in the Tour of Guangxi on Tuesday.
The Spaniard had gained the overall lead on stage four’s summit finish and safely navigated the two remaining sprint stage to seal the win in the Chinese race. Mas’s win came in his final race for Deceuninck-Quick-Step, as he prepares to move to Movistar for 2020 in pursuit of a first Grand Tour overall title.
Pascal Ackermann (Bora-Hansgrohe) took victory on the final stage in a bunch finish, beating Juan Sebastián Molano (UAE Team Emirates) and Timo Roosen (Jumbo-Visma) to the line to take his second victory of the race.
The German took his first win on stage three in a race dominated by sprints. Fernando Gaviria opened the race with a much needed win after a difficult first year with UAE Team Emirates, before Britain’s Dan McLay gave EF Education First a farewell gift with the win on stage two, as he prepares to leave for Arkéa-Samsic next year.
Ackermann, who led the overall after taking it from Gaviria on stage two, would have to relinquish his red jersey on stage four which finished up a steep 2.5km climb.
Mas was able to beat Daniel Martínez (EF Education First) and Diego Rosa (Team Ineos) to the line by one and eight seconds respectively in the uphill slog, effectively sealing the overall title barring a bizarre incident in the final two stages.
Gaviria then beat Ackermann to a second stage win on the fifth day, before Ackermann took his stage six victory.
“Winning the Tour of Guangxi, my last race with the Wolfpack, is something special that I will always remember,” Mas said after his victory.
“I’m delighted to take what is the maiden GC victory of my career and say goodbye to this fantastic team – who believed in me and gave me the chance to turn pro three years ago – in such a manner.
“I’ve learned a lot over these past seasons, made significant progress and am extremely grateful for the time spent [at Deceuninck-Quick-Step], as it’s been a memorable run stacked with beautiful moments.
“This win wouldn’t have been possible without my extraordinary team-mates, who gave their all and protected me this week. They are an incredible group, whom I am happy to call friends”
The Tour of Guangxi brings to an end the 38-race UCI WorldTour for this year, which began with the Tour Down Under back in January. The 2020 edition of cycling’s highest level races kicks-off again in Australia on January 21.
Tour of Guangxi 2019: Final general classification
1. Enric Mas (Esp) Deceuninck-Quick-Step, in 22-42-42
2. Daniel Martínez (Col) EF Education First, at 5 seconds
3. Diego Rosa (Ita) Team Ineos, at 14 seconds
4. Antwan Tolhoek (Ned) Jumbo-Visma, at 22 seconds
5. Felix Großschartner (Aut) Bora-Hansgrohe, at 29 seconds
6. Odd Christian Eiking (Nor) Wanty – Gobert
7. Carl Fredrik Hagen (Nor) Lotto-Soudal
8. David de la Cruz (Esp) Team Ineos, all same time
9. Davide Villella (Ita) Astana, at 37 seconds
10. Martijn Tusveld (Ned) Team Sunweb, at 38 seconds
Stage one: Fernando Gaviria (Col) UAE Team Emirates
Stage two: Dan McLay (GBr) EF Education First
Stage three: Pascal Ackermann (Ger) Bora-Hansgrohe
Stage four: Enric Mas (Esp) Deceuninck-Quick-Step
Stage five: Fernando Gaviria (Col) UAE Team Emirates
Stage six: Pascal Ackermann (Ger) Bora-Hansgrohe