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"I was feeling good the whole day and this gives me confidence for tomorrow. For me, this last climb is the last of the season, so you can go even deeper because you have added motivation."

Photo: Sirotti






12.10.2014 @ 18:32 Posted by Emil Axelgaard

Philippe Gilbert defended his lead in today's hilly stage of the Tour of Beijing. Having had good legs on the many climbs, the Belgian is confident for tomorrow's queen stage.


On a stage featuring seven categorized climbs, the BMC Racing Team successfully defended the overall lead of Philippe Gilbert Sunday at the Tour of Beijing.  Gilbert finished 37th and in the same time as stage winner Tyler Farrar (Garmin-Sharp), who won a bunch sprint at the end of the 176-kilometer race.


Heading into Monday's queen stage that finishes on Miaofeng Mountain, Gilbert leads Janse Van Rensburg (Team Giant-Shimano) by five seconds and Rui Da Costa (Lampre-Merida) by seven seconds. Another 33 riders are within 25 seconds of the lead. Gilbert said he is up to the task of holding onto  the leader's red jersey earned from his victory Saturday on Stage 2.


“It was not an easy day today,” said a relieved Gilbert. “It was really cold also with the headwind for the last 90km. The team controlled well and at the end we also got the help from the sprinter’s teams. I wasn’t really taking risks in the final…”

"I was feeling good the whole day and this gives me confidence for tomorrow," the past world road champion said. "For me, this last climb is the last of the season, so you can go even deeper because you have added motivation.


“Some guys said this climb is hard, some guys say no but what I saw on the graphic is a 12km climb and we will see. I’m in good shape and there’s not so many good climbers here. There will be attacks from everywhere.”


Teammate Samuel Sánchez, who finished 31st on the stage and placed 12th overall here in 2012, is in 20th place and one of 19 riders who are 11 seconds behind Gilbert.

BMC Racing Team Sport Director Yvon Ledanois said he was pleased to see the squad's six other riders step up to the challenge of protecting Gilbert's lead.


"When you have the jersey, you know it is always going to be hard for the guys – and it was a hard stage today," Ledanois said. "But the guys did a good job: first, with Yannick Eijssen, Rick Zabel and Martin Kohler, and later with Dominik Nerz and Tejay van Garderen working for Philippe and Samuel Sánchez. Tomorrow will be hard and is one for the general classification. I hope Philippe and Samuel have good legs."


Kohler, a past Swiss national road and time trial champion, said another challenging day lies ahead after working to keep a six-man breakaway from never gaining more than four-minute advantage.


"It is going to be pretty much the same as today – but with a bit more climbing – so it will be really tough again," Kohler said. "After two days of riding in the front, the legs will not be any fresher. So it will be one more tough day to go."



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