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"We supported Edvald 100% and the team rode well for him, but at the end he just didn’t have the legs. It was a tough finish and no-one really knew what was coming, but David didn’t lose any time and is still well placed on...

Photo: Sirotti








11.10.2014 @ 17:52 Posted by Emil Axelgaard

For the second day in a row, Team Sky featured prominently near the front in the finale of a stage in the Tour of Beijing. The team fully supported Edvald Boasson Hagen but the Norwegian faded in the uphill sprint.


David Lopez led Team Sky home in 17th position on a significantly reduced second stage of the Tour of Beijing after Philippe Gilbert had battled to a well-timed victory.


Lopez had bided his time in the peloton for most of the stage – which was shortened from 147.5km to 111km due to poor air quality – but worked his way into contention on the final climb to Yan Jia Ping and crossed the line in a select group after Gilbert had sealed his triumph.


Team Sky were prominent during the closing stages, with Chris Sutton working hard to bring the breakaway back in the last 5km before Ben Swift neutralised an attack from Manuele Boaro (Tinkoff-Saxo) as the road ramped upwards.


Edvald Boasson Hagen then hit the gas in the last 300m, but as he faded, Lopez emerged to keep Team Sky in contention near the top of the standings.


The day belonged to Gilbert, however, with the BMC rider following a determined dig from Johan Esteban Chaves (Orica-GreenEdge) before passing Reinardt Janse Van Rensburg (Giant-Shimano) on the final corner of the day.


The result also saw Gilbert rise to the top of the General Classification, where he holds a five-second advantage over Van Rensburg. Lopez meanwhile, sits just 11 seconds back in 13th place.


Back at the team hotel, Sports Director Servais Knaven was able to shed more light on the late move to shorten the stage whilst also offering his opinion on how events played out.

“The decision was made about 40 minutes before the start to protect the health of the riders and I think it was the right one. The teams and riders were consulted and almost everyone was in agreement. Obviously, some of the sprinters’ teams wanted to keep the route as it was, but we had to make a collective call.


“It was a hard decision because there were sponsors at the original finish line, and supporters as well, and after the stage we drove to Yanqing to ride the last 3km in procession for them.


“This situation could happen again over the next few days, and at the moment, we don’t know what’s going to happen. It will depend on whether the wind picks up and moves this polluted air away.


“In terms of the racing, we’d hoped for more today. We supported Edvald 100% and the team rode well for him, but at the end he just didn’t have the legs. It was a tough finish and no-one really knew what was coming, but David didn’t lose any time and is still well placed on the GC.


“David and Philip [Deignan] can both do well in this race if the route stays as it is. We’ll try to win a stage, and try and get them both up there at the end.


“Tomorrow’s stage is a tough one so we need to work for them and hope that they can be among a select group who I think will go for the win.”



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