BEIJING, Oct 15, 2013 – Spain’s Benat Intxausti won the Tour of
Beijing Tuesday, as Slovenian Luka Mezgec edged out Nacer Bouhanni in the
event’s final meters to deny the French sprinter a third stage victory.
Red jersey Intxausti, whose powerful attack in Monday’s hill stage had
given him the overall lead, came home safely in the peloton to take the title
for his Movistar team, which also includes Portugal’s world champion Rui Costa.
“I’m very happy with my whole season and above all, to put a finishing
touch to the team’s season,” said Intxausti, 27, who also won the 16th stage
of the Giro d’Italia this year.
The 117-kilometer fifth stage from Tiananmen Square to the Bird’s Nest
stadium in the north of the Chinese capital, featuring 12 laps of an
essentially flat 7.5-kilometer loop, was always likely to end in a bunch
Bouhanni, who had won two of the first four stages, made his move just a
few meters too early and Mezgec was led out by his Argos-Shimano team to
overtake him and win by a bike length.
“I’ve been waiting a really long time for this and today I succeeded,”
Mezgec, 22, said in a report released by the organizers. “Today every single
guy did his own job in a perfect way.”
With a 10-second bonus available for the stage win, Germany’s Tony Martin,
who had won the first two editions of the event but was 24 seconds behind
Intxausti overall, made a brave last-ditch attempt to retain his title with
just over three kilometers to go.
But the London Olympics silver medalist was pegged back, leaving the
sprinters to duel for line honors.
Bouhanni, 23, of Francaise des Jeux, took the green jersey for the points
REACTION / Beñat Intxausti: “It was a day to pay attention to the bonus seconds and especially those time gaps that always happen at fast finishes. The team was superb from the start, letting a not-so-dangerous break go away and controlling the race before the teams with sprinters took over with two laps remaining. We got well through the day, that was the goal and we’re happy with everything. Winning a World Tour stagerace in front of the likes of Daniel Martin, Tony Martin… is even more prestigious, and from a personal point of view, closing this season with such a victory makes me more calm and confident to go on holidan and start training. Just as ever, I dedicate this to the team, my family, the fans always supporting us and Xavi and my grandpa. I didn’t have the legs I expected to in the Vuelta, but seeing myself doing well through the Angliru was a confidence boost so I could finish it off well in the Como siempre, se lo dedico al equipo, a la familia, a la gente que me apoya y a Xavi y mi abuelo. En la Vuelta no estuve al nivel que quería, pero el verme en el Angliru delante me dio moral para terminar el año bien en las clásicas italianas y aquí en China. Entrené lo justo, pero descansé mucho y me recuperé bien de la Vuelta que era lo que quería y me ha salido bien.
“This victory rounds off a great season for me. I think that taking leadership roles in the Giro made me gain consistence and courage, and now this victory in a World Tour race is sort of a confirmation. I’m growing year by year and that will be my intention for the next season. I’m especially happy about the team. Winning the World Tour teams’ classification, becoming the World number 1… it’s the icing on the cake. I brought what I could and it was amazing how things went this season: podiums in two GT’s, the Worlds, every single victory… it really shows our potential.”
Results from the fifth and final stage of the
Tour of Beijing on Tuesday.
1. Luka Mezgec (SLO/ARG) 2 hours 23 mins 56 seconds
2. Nacer Bouhanni (FRA/FDJ) same time
3. Moreno Hofland (NED/BEL) same time
4. Matti Breschel (DEN/TST) same time
5. Roberto Ferrari (ITA/LAM) same time
Final overall classification
1. Benat Intxausti (ESP/MOV) 19 hours 35 mins 46 secs
2. Daniel Martin (IRE/GRS) +0:10
3. David Lopez (ESP/SKY) +0:13
4. Rui Costa (POR/MOV) +0:18
5. Romain Bardet (FRA/ALM) +0:24
File Photo: Corvos