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"David got up there at the end to finish 10th. Everybody was riding well. We had Ian, Swifty, Cataldo, Edvald and all the guys up there. We didn’t win the stage but we did what we could. There were a few riders just a bit stronge...

Photo: Sirotti






13.10.2014 @ 14:13 Posted by Emil Axelgaard

Last year Team Sky dominated lots of WorldTour stage races but this year it has been completely different. Hence, it was no surprise that the team came up short in the queen stage of the final stage race of the year, the Tour of Beijing.


David Lopez claimed a top-10 finish on the Tour of Beijing queen stage as Team Sky helped set the pace on the final climb.


The Spaniard was part of an elite group that battled it out for stage honours on the summit finish and dug deep to come home 10th, 13 seconds back on eventual winner Dan Martin.


As the race hit the lower slopes of Mentougou Miaofeng mountain Ian Boswell, Ben Swift and Edvald Boasson Hagen arrived at the front of a jostling peloton to set the pace. Dario Cataldo then rode hard to set a tempo and help chase a dangerous late move from Ryder Hesjedal (Garmin-Sharp).


The race came back together ahead of the final kilometre and it was Martin (Garmin-Sharp) who pulled off an impressive victory, but was just unable to snatch the race lead from Philippe Gilbert.


The Irishman jumped clear with 400 metres to go and fended off his closest rivals to win by two seconds. Johan Esteban Chaves (Orica-GreenEdge) followed Martin’s wheel closely to claim second, while Gilbert dug deep to snatch third on the line, securing four crucial bonus seconds in the process.


That was enough to ensure the BMC rider takes a slender three-second lead over Martin into the final stage, with intermediate time bonuses likely the only way he can be beaten on the flat city circuit.


Lopez now sits 12th overall, 26 seconds back with just three seconds separating positions five through 14. Philip Deignan was the next Team Sky rider home, placing 17th on the stage and 19th overall heading into Tuesday’s decider.


“It was a really good ride from everyone," confirmed Sports Director Servais Knaven after the stage. "David got up there at the end to finish 10th. Everybody was riding well. We had Ian, Swifty, Cataldo, Edvald and all the guys up there. We didn’t win the stage but we did what we could. There were a few riders just a bit stronger out there today.


“It’s been a good race. The time gaps are not big and it’s been a nice battle. I’m not sure much will happen tomorrow on the GC. We know it will be a bunch sprint, but it depends who goes for the intermediate sprints. Lots of teams have sprinters so it could be tactical. You never know what can happen.”



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