Rory Townsend has been backed to deliver another stellar show on the queen stage of the Tour of Quanzhou Bay on Sunday.
Harry Tanfield reckons his team-mate can challenge for the overall victory in the UCI 2.2 Asia Tour race in China.
After a memorable one-two on the opening stage, Townsend trails Tanfield by just 11 seconds in the general classification, with the main field at 1min 16sec.
The 22-year-old, from Addlestone in Surrey, also holds the lead in the points and mountains classifications of the three-day race.
Sunday’s second stage in Anxi features a category one climb and a category two ascent before the category one summit finish.
Tanfield knows the 111.4km battle will prove decisive in the king of the mountains contest and could well settle the general classification scrap.
But while he believes the climbs will prove too much for his 80kg frame, the Great Ayton star is confident Townsend has the class to challenge and any front he wishes.
Meanwhile, Max Stedman and James Lowsley-Williams are also champing at the bit to make their mark after finishing in the main group on Saturday.
Tanfield, who turned 23 last month and will wear the blue leader’s jersey on stage two, said:
“Rory could go for the GC or even the KOM, which will be decided on Sunday.
“I’m sure we will all try for the sprints as that one is pretty open still. Whatever happens, we are all excited to go again after a mega day on Saturday.”
Tanfield and Townsend got themselves into a six-man break, alongside two members of Australian outfit Team Skoda Racing, on the 87.6km opening stage from Hui An to Jinjiang.
The duo worked hard to ensure the move remained clear, with Cameron Meyer’s Mitchelton Scott team leading the chase behind.
But the peloton failed to make any major inroads before Tanfield gapped his fellow escapees to celebrate victory and Townsend won the sprint for second.
It was the former’s maiden UCI triumph, following his second in Antwerpse Havenpijl in August and third in the CiCLE Classic in 2015, and a landmark first success for the team.
Tanfield, who won the most combative rider jersey on stage two of the Tour de Yorkshire in April, added:
“We were in a six-man break with a huge tailwind all day.
“The gap got out to around 90 seconds before the Mitchelton Scott lads got on the front of the peloton.
“They got it down to just over a minute but with 25km to go the gap started going up again. We were just whacking it!
“It was only Rory and me doing big turns, the other guys were just rolling through. Two of them had 52s on and I was revving 55/11 a lot of the time.
“With 2km to go it dropped off downhill before a drag with 1.5km to go. Rory surged to the front, another lad followed and I tried to attack but didn’t get anywhere.
“Then I went again and managed get a gap with 800m left. It went downhill then, so I got around 15 seconds before basically celebrating the last 300m!
“I lost a few seconds doing that but I’ll be getting belted on the mountains on stage two, so I figured I would just bowl in.”
Townsend, who won the KOM jersey at the Tour of Almaty in October, leads Tanfield by two points to one in the mountains classfication.
The duo also top the sprint standings on 22 and 18, respectively. Follow us on Facebook and Twitter to ensure you find out what happens on stage two.