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“Today was a really tough stage - up and down all day,” he confirmed. “The team did a great ride. There were some cross-winds and difficult terrain." 

Photo: Sirotti




10.10.2014 @ 18:31 Posted by Andy Pedersen

Team Sky rode hard to control the opening stage at the Tour of Beijing but narrowly missed out on a top-10 finish with Ben Swift.

The Yorkshireman had the full support of his team-mates out on the road and in a show of strength it was Team Sky who controlled the day’s breakaway almost single-handedly.


Ian Boswell, Dario Cataldo and Bernhard Eisel combined their efforts to sit on the front for long turns as the team positioned themselves at the front en masse.


Well-placed inside the final kilometre, a split second loss of momentum through the final corner saw Swift slip back through the pack to an eventual 11th spot in Zhangjiakou.


Luka Mezgec (Giant-Shimano) picked up where he left off in China last year to claim the opening stage, narrowly edging out Caleb Ewan (Orica-GreenEDGE) and Tyler Farrar (Garmin-Sharp) in a close headwind sprint.


That result moved Mezgec into a narrow four-second lead with four days of racing remaining.Last year’s podium finisher David Lopez benefitted from the team’s hard work and finished safely in the pack ahead of more selective stages to come.


167 kilometres lay ahead in the Far East on the opening stage of the race and the finale to the 2014 WorldTour.


The day’s break formed immediately with Tosh van der Sande (Lotto Belisol), Julian Kern (Ag2r-La Mondiale) and Jeremy Roy ( making tracks up the road as the race departed Chong Li.


The gap crept out over eight minutes but that advantage began to fall as Team Sky hit the front, committing numbers to the chase across the largely barren landscape.


Roy pushed onwards solo through the final intermediate sprint, while back in the pack a late attack from Philippe Gilbert (BMC Racing) yielded a single bonus second but was short lived. Later Roy’s charge was halted with 20km to go


The team were in prime position as they headed into a technical finish, with Philip Deignan hitting the front on a winding slip road before Edvald Boasson Hagen and Chris Sutton helped shepherd Swift at the front.


Wide roads made it difficult to control the run-in and at the line it was Mezgec who prevailed.


After the stage Sports Director Servais Knaven praised the performance of the team on a deceptively difficult day to the Sky website.


“Today was a really tough stage – up and down all day,” he confirmed. “The team did a great ride. There were some cross-winds and difficult terrain. The guys took control but no help came from the other teams. We kept control of the peloton without going full gas and they were there until the final kilometre. It was a really good team performance today.


“It is always difficult to control a sprint like that on big wide roads. The last 400 metres were also a headwind. Even if you have a good position you have to have the legs to be able to pass a few riders. It’s always difficult but I can’t fault the effort of the team.”



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