Rapha Condor claimed an impressive ninth placing in the opening prologue of the Tour of Qinghai Lake in China earlier today, thanks to Darren Lapthorne.



The 2.HC stage race is one of the most prestigious races in Asia and has been won in recent years by Tom Danielson and Damiano Cunego, whilst Daniel Lloyd was second overall in 2007.



Lapthorne was ninth in the 4.8km in the prologue in Huzhu today, standing him in good stead for a high overall placing.



Despite Lapthorne’s result the team did not get off to the most auspicious of starts.  



Due to fly to China last Sunday, allowing the team plenty of time to acclimatise to the altitude in Qinghai, the flight was then re-scheduled for Monday and then Tuesday.



The team did not then arrive in Beijing until Wednesday, where they had to take a four-hour connecting flight to their destination.



“This meant that we were all absolutely knackered before we even started,” explained team manager, John Herety.



“The travelling policy is inconsistent with the other teams, but we’re the new kids on the block at the moment so we’ve got to take it on the chin.”



Rapha’s Ben Greenwood was hospitalised after suffering from the effects of altitude sickness.



“He’s not been at altitude before. He fainted in the dining room and was tended to be a doctor. He went to hospital, was given some oxygen and came round.



“He underwent some tests but was given the all clear and he’ll fly back to the UK tomorrow.



“It’d be foolish to try and go for it at this stage in the race, we’ve been really affected by what’s happened to Ben and we’re all still struggling for breath, even the staff.



“But we’ll try and give it a go later in the race and see what happens,” Herety added.



Prologue results:

1. Andrey Mizurov (Petrochemical Tabriz) 5-41


2. Li Fuyu (Marco Polo) at 7 secs

3. Danilo Hondo (PSK) at 9 secs

4. Dylan Newell (Praties)

5. Matej Stare (Slovenia)

6. Will Routley (Jelly Belly) at 10 secs

7. Radoslav Rogina (Loborika)

8. Mariusz Witecki (Poland) at 11 secs

9. Darren Lapthorne (Rapha Condor)

10. Niklas Axelsson (Corratec)