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Jonathan Milan (Bahrain-Victorious) hit the front early on the second stage of the Tour of Guangxi, just like on the opening day, but this time the Bahrain-Victorious stomped determinedly on the pedals to hold off all challengers right to the line so he could celebrate a clear cut victory in Qinzhou.
There was a clear margin to the rest of the field spread out in pursuit of the rider, who claimed the runner-up spot on day 1 but wasn’t about to let himself be caught before the line again. This time it was Arvid De Kleijn (Tudor) who had to settle for the second spot on the podium while Juan Sebastián Molano (UAE Team Emirates) slotted into third.
Milan, who had started the day in second place overall overtook stage 1 winner Elia Viviani (Ineos Grenadiers) in the general classification with his victory.
The 149.6km may have ended up with the expected battle for the sprinters, but there were moments of doubt in the final kilometres as just when the final duo from a long escape were about to be reeled in, an attack leapt out of the field leaving ten riders out the front, including Thomas De Gendt (Lotto-Dstny), Zdeněk Stybar (Jayco-AlUla) and George Bennett (UAE Team Emirates) at just under 8km to go.
The gap stretched but ultimately there was no spoiling the sprinters day, with the field all pulled back together at 3km to go.
How it unfolded
There was a rapid start to stage 2 of the Tour of Guangxi as the peloton left Beihai and set out for the oyster and turtle farming centre of Qinzhou. Dries De Bondt (Alpecin-Deceuninck) began the day third overall thanks to the bonus seconds he picked up in the break on stage 1, and the Belgian was eager to repeat the feat here with an eye to moving into the red jersey of race leader.
De Bondt was duly aboard when the break went clear inside the opening 10km, with Julius…