uses cookies for statistics and targeting ads. This information is shared with third parties.

Every day we bring you more pro-cycling news

Starting at 8.30 CEST you can follow the final day of WorldTour racing on

Photo: Sirotti


14.10.2014 @ 08:45 Posted by Emil Axelgaard

Today’s queen stage probably decided the overall winner of the Tour of Beijing but the battle for the minor positions is still very close. The final stage may be a ceremonial affair for the sprinters but before the fastmen will bring the WorldTour to a close, the GC riders may be sprinting for the bonus seconds in the intermediate sprints.


The course

Only one stage has been part of the route for all three editions of the race: the 117km stage that takes the riders from Tian An Men Square in central Beijing to a circuit around the Beijing National Stadium and a finish on Bird's Nest Piazza. The first 17.5km bring the riders from the city centre to the circuit in the northern part of the city and they will cross the finish line for the first time 6km later.


Then they will do 12 laps of the 7.5km circuit that is rather non-technical and completely flat. There are six 90-degree turns and the riders will make a U-turn in a roundabout but the roads are wide and non-dangerous as the riders circle around the many landmarks from the Beijing Olympics. All day the terrain is completely flat and the finishing straight is very long at more than 1.5. There will be intermediate sprints at the end of the third and seventh laps.


In 2011, the stage ended the race when Denis Galimzyanov took the win while the stage opened the 2012 edition of the race, with Elia Viviani riding himself into the first leader's jersey. Last year Luka Mezgec took his first professional victory on the very last day of his first season with Giant-Shimano. This year the stage will bring both the race and the 2014 edition of the WorldTour to a close in beautiful surroundings.




The weather

The cloudy and rainy conditions that greeted the riders for the first stages of the race, have finally been replaced by beautiful sunshine. Today the riders raced under a clear sky and tomorrow it will be more of the same. Furthermore, it will be warmer than it has been until now as the temperature will reach a maximum of 20 degrees.


There will be a moderate wind from a southwesterly direction. This means that the riders will have a cross-headwind in the first part of the circuit before they turn into a cross-tailwind. With 1.8km to go, they turn into a cross-headwind on the finishing straight.


The favourites

Many national tours finish with a flat stage for the sprinters in the capital of the country. It is no different for the biggest Chinese stage race and the final stage of the WorldTour race is a very typical one. A completely flat, non-technical circuit with wide roads on a short stage will make it one for the pure sprinters who excel at the end of an easy and fast day in the saddle and who have the highest speed.


The stage will take in many of the attractions in Beijing and may have a bit of a ceremonial character. These kinds of stages are of course destined to end in a bunch sprint but unlike in a grand tour, the fight for the GC may not be completely over.


Many riders are still equal on time and the stage offers important bonus seconds. As there are WorldTour points to gain by moving up a few spots on GC, many riders and teams will be keen to try pick up a second or two to improve their position in the overall standings. None of the GC riders will score any seconds at the finish where the sprinters will rule but the seconds in the intermediate sprints could be up for grabs. This may add an interesting dynamic to what should otherwise be a straightforward sprint stage.


It is the final day of racing and even though everybody knows that the sprint teams will control things firmly, lots of riders usually want to go on the attack in such stages. We will probably be in for a fast and aggressive start before the break finally gets clear and the sprint teams have to be on their toes to prevent a strong group from getting clear.


In such a short stage, the break never gets much of an advantage and the gap will probably stay below the two-minute mark. BMC will do their fair share of pace-setting to honour the leader’s jersey but we can expect Giant-Shimano, Garmin-Sharp, Lampre-Merida and Orica-GreenEDGE to be the dominant teams in the chase. The sprint hierarchy in this race is pretty open which means that there should be plenty of teams willing to do the work and so it is virtually impossible to imagine that the stage won’t be decided in a bunch sprint.


The intermediate sprints come with 70km and 39km to go respectively and there is a big chance that the escapees will pick up the bonus seconds. If the GC riders get a chance to pick up some bonifications, however, they will definitely try to do so. However, the battle for the points jersey is also pretty close and this means that it will be hard for the top 10 contenders to finish in the top 3 in any of the sprints. Furthermore, some of the GC riders may use their sprinters to take away the seconds from their rivals.


Dan Martin is just 3 seconds behind Gilbert but the Irishman has already admitted defeat. He is pretty fast in a sprint but usually Gilbert is faster. Even though the overall win is still within reach for Martin, he is very unlikely to dethrone Gilbert on the final day.


The final sprint takes place on a long, wide road, meaning that it suits the real power sprinters who excel at very high speed. However, there will be a headwind in the finale which means that timing will be very important. Furthermore, it increases the importance of positioning as it is harder to come from far back even if there will be plenty of room to pass riders on the wide avenue in Beijing.


In stage 1, Caleb Ewan did the fastest sprint but he started from too far back and had to settle for second. In stage 3, he got a perfect lead-out from his Orica-GreenEDGE teammates but he ran out of legs in the finale, drifting back to 10th. However, the combination of a very fast sprint and a formidable lead-out train makes Ewan our favourite to win the stage.


Ewan is supported by riders like Jens Mouris, Sam Bewley and Mathews Hayman in the sprint and most importantly he has Daryl Impey to lead him out. In stage 3, they managed to dominate the finale and tomorrow they could be able to do the same.


Yesterday Ewan faded in the finale metres but that sprint came at the end of a pretty hard stage. This is only the second WorldTour race of his career and he is not yet fully accustomed to the high level of racing. Tomorrow’s sprint comes at the end of an easier stage and so he should be fresher for the sprint. In stage 1, Ewan proved that he is probably the fastest rider in the race and if Orica-GreenEDGE manage to position him reasonably he will be hard to beat.


Last year Luka Mezgec won this stage and he will be eager to make it two in a row. Earlier this year he won the final stage of the Giro in Trieste and even though he is no pure sprinter, history shows that he is pretty strong in this kind of sprints.


Mezgec has finished in the top 2 in both sprints he has done and he is clearly one of the fastest riders in the peloton. He is not supported by the usual strong Giant-Shimano lead-out train but that is usually not a problem for the Slovenian who prefers to latch onto the wheel of his rivals in the finale. He has Reinardt van Rensburg to help bring him into position and the pair usually handle that aspect pretty well. Having become some kind of specialist in these sprint, Mezgec is clearly one of the big favourites.


Yesterday Tyler Farrar broke a long drought when he won stage 3 and the American is clearly in great condition. He already sprinted well in the Tour de l’Eurometropole and in this race he has been even better. In stage 1, he hit out very early but was still strong enough to hold onto third. Yesterday he came from very far back to take a pretty convincing win.


Farrar may not be back at his previous level but at the moment he seems to be sprinting better than he has done for years. He has Steele von Hoff to support him in the finale and he seems to be one of the fastest riders in the race. It would be no surprise if he ends his Garmin career in the perfect manner.


12 months ago Moreno Hofland finished third in this stage and the Dutchman will be eager to improve on that performance. He is no pure sprinter and the easy course doesn’t suit him too well. However, he is surrounded by lots of fast riders who have the potential to dominate the finale. The previous stages have been too hard for the likes of Graeme Brown and Barry Markus but tomorrow they should be able to lend Hofland a hand. It would be no surprise if they deliver Hofland in the perfect position and then he should be fast enough to finish it off.


Sacha Modolo is riding himself into form after a luckless second half of the season. He finished fourth in stage 1 and in stage 3 he was in a great position until he was struck by cramps just 2km from the finish. He usually prefers a more technical and harder finale but on paper he is one of the fastest riders in this race. He is working excellently together with his final lead-out man Maximilano Richeze and if the pair can time things right, he may end the year in the same successful way he started it.


Until now, Lotto Belisol have been supporting Greg Henderson in the sprint but tomorrow it could be Kris Boeckmans’ time to shine. The Belgian has had a hard time in the Chinese hills but tomorrow he should still be fresh at the finish. He has been sprinting pretty well this year, most notably when he was narrowly denied a big win in the Dauphiné. With Henderson at his side in the finale, he can count on one of the best lead-out men in the world and this could allow him to take his first win in Lotto Belisol colouts.


Finally, we will select our jokers. Until now, we haven’t seen much from Danny Van Poppel in this race as the youngster suffered from stomach problems in the early part of the race. Now he has recovered from his illness and he showed improving condition yesterday when he finished 7th. Tomorrow’s stage is now his big goal and he has proved that he has the speed to mix it up with the best. There are definitely faster riders in this race but if he and his lead-out man and brother Boy time things right, he could create a surprise.


Nikolas Maes is mostly working as a domestique but in this race he is the protected Omega Pharma-Quick Step sprinter. By finishing 5th and 3rd in his first sprint, he has been doing surprisingly well. He is no pure sprinter but his team has done an excellent job in positioning him for the sprints. If they can do so again tomorrow, he should be up there again.


CyclingQuotes’ stage winner pick: Caleb Ewan

Other winner candidates: Luka Mezgec, Tyler Farrar

Outsiders: Moreno Hofland, Sacha Modolo, Kris Boeckmans

Jokers: Danny Van Poppel, Nikolas Maes



The Best Danish Cyclist To Bet On At 2022 Tour De France 13.01.2022 @ 15:262022 Upcoming Tournament Overview 03.01.2022 @ 09:45Best Place to Find Stand-Up Paddleboards 16.06.2021 @ 08:16What are Primoz Roglic’s Chances to Win 2021 Tour de Fr... 17.03.2021 @ 08:37Amazing victory by young champion Sarah Gigante 04.02.2021 @ 14:21Three reasons why cycling is one of the best ways to ex... 28.09.2020 @ 12:03Why do businesses use meeting room managers? 14.09.2020 @ 13:42Five things that you can do, if you want to gain more f... 20.08.2020 @ 15:38One for the road 09.06.2020 @ 15:25List of CyclingQuotes previews 07.05.2020 @ 13:20Blue Energy: room for all interests 26.08.2019 @ 12:56Get your daily dose of exercise at home 08.07.2019 @ 10:443 good advice to be able to afford your favorite bike 25.02.2019 @ 12:32Cycle through gorgeous landscapes 22.10.2018 @ 21:41Balance Your Economy and Diet and Start Saving Money 08.10.2018 @ 11:18Stay Safe: 3 Helmets That Can Keep Your Head Protected... 20.07.2018 @ 07:59Planning to bet on Tour De France - Bet types and strat... 24.05.2018 @ 14:18Basics of cycling betting 25.10.2017 @ 13:10Bauer moves to ORICA-SCOTT 28.08.2017 @ 10:45End of the road for CyclingQuotes 08.01.2017 @ 16:00Rui Costa confirms Giro participation 07.01.2017 @ 12:55Van Avermaet: I am not afraid of Sagan 07.01.2017 @ 09:45Unchanged course for E3 Harelbeke 07.01.2017 @ 09:32Jenner takes surprise win at Australian U23 Championships 07.01.2017 @ 08:53No replacement for Meersman at Fortuneo-Vital Concept 06.01.2017 @ 19:14Barguil with two goals in 2017 06.01.2017 @ 19:06More details about French Vuelta start emerges 06.01.2017 @ 14:16Kristoff to start season at Etoile de Besseges 06.01.2017 @ 14:10Ion Izagirre announces schedule for first year at Bahrain 06.01.2017 @ 12:40JLT Condor optimistic for Herald Sun Tour 06.01.2017 @ 09:19Haas leads Dimension Data trio in fight for Australian... 06.01.2017 @ 09:15Sagan spearheads Bora-hansgrohe at Tour Down Under 06.01.2017 @ 09:12Henao and Thomas lead Sky Down Under 06.01.2017 @ 09:09Bauer crowned New Zealand TT champion 06.01.2017 @ 08:33Van der Poel ready to defend Dutch title 05.01.2017 @ 21:00Pantano ambitious for first Tour with Trek 05.01.2017 @ 20:41Landa with new approach to the Giro 05.01.2017 @ 20:36Sunweb Development Team sign Goos and Zepuntke 05.01.2017 @ 20:27Dumoulin confirms Giro participation 05.01.2017 @ 20:19Bauer targets victories in Quick-Step debut 05.01.2017 @ 20:16Gaviria and Boonen lead Quick-Step in San Juan 05.01.2017 @ 20:13Team Sunweb presented in Germany 05.01.2017 @ 20:09ASO take over major German WorldTour race 05.01.2017 @ 11:01Team Sunweb unveil new jersey 05.01.2017 @ 10:54Reactions from the Australian TT Championships 05.01.2017 @ 08:27Dennis defends Australian TT title 05.01.2017 @ 08:21Scotson takes back to back U23 TT titles in Australia 05.01.2017 @ 08:15Utrecht on track to host 2020 Vuelta 04.01.2017 @ 18:28Pre-season setback for Talansky 04.01.2017 @ 17:56Kristoff: It's not impossible for me to win in Rou... 04.01.2017 @ 17:49Boom close to first cyclo-cross win in LottoNL debut 04.01.2017 @ 17:40UAE Abu Dhabi make late signing of Arab rider 04.01.2017 @ 17:36UAE Abu Dhabi unveil new jersey 04.01.2017 @ 17:30BMC unveil race schedule 04.01.2017 @ 17:21Androni sign Costa Rican super talent 04.01.2017 @ 17:13

Currently no news in this list

30 years | today
46 years | today
47 years | today
22 years | today
Francesco GABRIELE
25 years | today