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Spaniard makes perfectly timed attack and narrowly holds off pre-race favourite Dan Martin who explodes 100m from the line just as he is about to overtake the Movistar rider

Photo: Movistar Team

BEÑAT INTXAUSTI

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TOUR OF BEIJING

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14.10.2013 @ 10:22 Posted by Simon Knudstrup

Benat Intxausti (Movistar) exploited the tactical battle between the pre-race favourites in today's queen stage of the Tour of Beijing to launch a perfectly timed attack on the final climb to the finish. Daniel Martin (Garmin-Sharp) made one of his trademark accelerations inside the final kilometre and seemed to be denying Intxausti his win but exploded 100m from the line and had to settle for 2nd.

 

Benat Intxausti set himself up for his first ever overall win in a WorldTour stage race when the talented Spaniard took a solo win on the Mentougou Miaofeng Mountain in the queen stage of the Tour of Beijing. The Spaniard narrowly held off pre-race favourite Daniel Martin, David Lopez (Sky) and his teammate Rui Costa to take his 2nd win of the season and take over the leader's jersey from Nacer Bouhanni (FDJ).

 

In a very aggressive finale, Intxausti exploited the standstill that occurred when the big favourites started to look at each other. He quickly opened up a big gap while Lopez set off in pursuit.

 

Two of the day's pre-race favourites, Martin and Costa, closed the gap to Lopez but were still far behind the lone leader. The Movistar rider appeared to be riding away with the win but Martin had different plans.

 

The Irishman made a fabulous acceleration and quickly closed most of the gap to Intxausti. With 100m to go, he was just a few metres behind the Movistar rider but shook his head and gave up his attempt to win the race. Instead, Intxausti got the just reward for his gutsy attack and crossed the finish line to take a beautiful solo win.

 

A disappointed Martin crossed the line 3 seconds later while Lopez and Costa were 1 and 3 seconds further adrift respectively. Romain Bardet (Ag2r) and defending champion Tony Martin (Omega Pharma-Quick Step) were the next to cross the line while a bigger group led by Jan Bakelants (Radioshack) followed just 2 seconds later.

 

With the win, Intxausti takes the overall lead with a 10 second gap over Martin and has almost locked up the win in the third edition of the Chinese race. Tomorrow's final stage is a flat circuit race in the centre of Beijing which is likely to be decided in a bunch sprint and only bad luck will deny Intxausti his first overall win in a WorldTour race.

 

Starting at 8.30 CEST you can follow the final stage on CyclingQuotes.com/live.

 

The queen stage

The 150,5km fourth stage was by far the hardest in the history of the Tour of Beijing. Three climbs - one of them in the first category - preceded the final 12,6km Mentougou Miaofeng Mountain which had av average gradient of 5,7% and led all the way to the finish line.

 

Like yesterday, the stage has been off to a very fast start and it took a long time for the day's first break to be established. After 29km, four riders managed to slip clear as Benat Intxausti, Ivan Gutierrez (both Movistar), Maurits Lammertink (Vacansoleil) and Zdenek Stybar (Omega Pharma-Quick Step) build up a gap that had reached 2.45 by the time they reached the site of the first intermediate sprint. Stybar beat Intxausti and Lammertink to pick up the maximum 3 bonus seconds.

 

Intxausti falls back

With 2 seconds in his pocket, Intxausti decided that he had fulfilled his mission and he fell back to the peloton which kept the gap stable at around 2 minutes for a little while. However, the main group wasn't intent on letting the front trio have their time in the spotlight and so Stijn Vandenbergh (Omega Pharma-Quick Step), Moreno Hofland (Belkin), KOM leader Damiano Caruso (Cannondale), Daniele Ratto (Cannondale), Mitchell Docker (Orica-GreenEDGE) and Wesley Sulzberger (Orica-GreenEDGE) who is second in the mountains classification, set off in pursuit.

 

At the top of the first climb, Gutierrez took maximum points ahead of Lammertink and Stybar while Caruso crossed the line in 4th, 25 seconds behind the front trio. The peloton had reduced the gap and was just 20 seconds further adrift.

 

A sextet is formed

Caruso, Vandenbergh and Hofland managed to get across to the front trio and thus created a front sextet that was allowed to build up a gap that reached its maximum at 1.45. Caruso took maximum points on the second climb ahead of Gutierrez and Stybar while Gutierrez beat Stybar and Caruso in the second intermediate sprint.

 

The 6 riders worked well together but behind, Saxo-Tinkoff, Ag2r and Garmin-Sharp combined forces to organize a chase. Evgeny Petrov, Takashi Miyazawa, Jay McCarthy, Yauheni Hutarovich, Nathan Haas and Jacob Rathe swapped turns on the front and gradually started to bring the gap down.

 

Vandenbergh sets off on his own

Hofland beat Lammertink and Stybar in the final intermediate sprint but the front group was now quickly losing ground. With 25km to go, the gap was down to less than a minute and this spelled the end for the cooperation in the breakaway.

 

Vandenbergh attacked while Lammertink, Gutierrez and Hofland set off in pursuit. Lammertink dropped his companions but never managed to get across to the lone Vandenbergh. Caruso, Stybar and Gutierrez decided to wait for the peloton and were the first to get caught but Hofland and Lammertink followed suit a little later.

 

Vandenbergh is caught

Vandenbergh did a good job to keep the peloton at bay and managed to crest the summit of the penultimate climb with 21km to go in first position. However, a fierce battle for position had automatically upped the pace in the peloton as Movistar and Belkin were now fighting hard for control in the main group.

 

Movistar hit the front with Alex Dowsett and Enrique Sanz and with 17km to go, Vandenbergh was caught. BMC was the next team to take control with Marcus Burghardt and Stephen Cummings but when they hit the final climb, it was Danilo Hondo (Radioshack) who set the pace.

 

Sulzberger kicks off the action

Sulzberger launched an attack and dangled a few metres ahead of the peloton for a little while before being reeled in. Martin Kohler (BMC) took a huge turn on the front before Belkin showed their intentions when they lined out Paul Martens, Marc Goos, Robert Gesink and Wilco Kelderman on the front.

 

Martens and Goos both took turns on the front before the action kicked off in earnest with an attack from Joe Dombrowski (Sky). Kelderman set off in pursuit and they were joined by Adam Hansen (Lotto) and Jesus Herrada (Movistar) but moments later things were back together.

 

Hansen sets off

Hansen made a counterattack and quickly built up a solid gap. Marco Pinotti (BMC) and later Josh Edmondson (Sky) bridged across but Radioshack decided to put up a chase with Bob Jungels doing the work.

 

Movistar took over with Herrada while Hansen fell back to the peloton. Costa deliberately made a gap to Herrada who bridged across to the leaders but moments later, Jungels brought things back together.

 

Tony Martin tries his hand

Jan Bakelants was the next to try a move and he opened up a gap. That was when defending champion Tony Martin (Omega Pharma-Quick Step) played his card and this forced Dan Martin, Costa, Bardet and Dominik Nerz (BMC) to react. The acceleration brought things back together when they passed the 5km to go mark.

 

David Lopez made a wily counterattack and quickly opened up a big gap. He was joined by Bakelants while Kelderman started to chase for Belkin.

 

Several attacks

The duo opened up a 2-second gap while constant attacks were being launched from the peloton. Tony Martin, Matthias Frank (BMC) and Carlos Betancur (Ag2r) all tried different moves but had no success.

 

Instead, Dan Martin accelerated and he made it across to the front duo. Moments later, the peloton also reached the front and so everything was back together with 3km to go.

 

Intxausti makes his move

Costa tried an unsuccessful attack but when he was caught and things slowed down, his teammate Intxausti exploited the situation. He quickly got a big gap while Lopez set off in pursuit.

 

Several attacks were launched from the peloton but the one that stuck was made by Dan Martin and Costa. They quickly bridged across to Lopez and later Bakelants also joined them. However, Intxausti was still far ahead and appeared to be taking the win.

 

Martin knew that something had to be done and so he launched a fierce acceleration. He rapidly approached Intxausti and seemed to be reaching the front in time to take the win. However, Intxausti dug deep one final time and that was enough to make Martin explode, allowing Intxausti to take a big solo win on the queen stage.

 

Result:

1. Benat Intxausti 3.43.25

2. Daniel Martin +0.03

3. David Lopez +0.04

4. Rui Costa +0.06

5. Romain Bardet +0.11

6. Tony Martin

7. Jan Bakelants +0.13

8. Robert Gesink

9. Ivan Basso

10. Matthias Frank

 

General classification:

1. Benat Intxausti 17.11.50

2. Daniel Martin +0.50

3. David Lopez +0.13

4. Rui Costa +0.18

5. Romain Bardet +0.24

6. Tony Martin

7. Jan Bakelants +0.26

8. Robert Gesink

9. Ivan Basso

10. Garikoitz Bravo +0.31

 

Points classification:

1. Nacer Bouhanni 38

2. Michael Matthews 31

3. Alessandro Petacchi 24

4. Luka Mezgec 21

5. Matti Breschel 21

 

Mountains classification:

1. Damiano Caruso 49

2. Wesley Sulzberger 35

3. Jose Ivan Gutierrez 18

4. Chad Beyer 17

5. Olivier Kaisen 16

 

Youth classification:

1. Romain Bardet 17.12.14

2. Garikoitz Bravo +0.07

3. Carlos Betancur

4. Jan Polanc +0.17

5. Dominik Nerz

 

Teams classification:

1. Movistar 51.37.18

2. BMC +0.05

3. Radioshack +0.22

4. Ag2r +0.23

5. Sky +0.47

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