Lienz, Austria - Champion System Pro Cycling Team's Gang Xu earned the most aggressive rider jersey on the opening stage of the Giro del Trentino Tuesday.
Tuesday's opening day featured two stages: a 128.5-kilometer road race and a 14.1-km team time trial.
Heading into the road race, Xu said that recently he had been feeling strong and was anxious to make an impact.
"I really wanted to help the team," Xu said. "I knew my best opportunity would be to try to make the breakaway."
Along with seven others, Xu attacked early on. When the escapees reached the base of the stage's only categorized climb, just 15 km from the finish, they had nearly nine minutes on the peloton. From this front group, Michael Rodriguez (Team Columbia) set a blistering pace up the climb, and only Maxime Bouet (AG2R La Mondiale) and Josef Cerny (CCC Polsat Polkowice) could hold his wheel. Even though Xu could not sustain the intensity, the Chinese national road champion minimized his losses by keeping the other escapees in his sights and chasing hard on the descent.
"I struggled a little on the climb and lost some places," he said. "But I was determined to get back, so I pushed hard all the way to the finish."
At the finish, Bouet outsprinted runner-up Cerny and Rodriquez. Xu finished eighth, 71 seconds back. The peloton finished nearly seven minutes after Bouet's group.
"I was very happy to go to the podium and show the Champion System team and the Chinese national champion jersey," he said. "It was a very good feeling for me."
In the second stage of the day, Champion System finished 1:42 seconds off the winning time of Sky Procycling in the race against the clock.
The four-day stage race continues Wednesday with a 224.8-km stage running from Sillian, Austria to Vetriolo Terme, Italy. The stage features two categorized climbs, including a summit finish.