10/14/2013 - TEAM NEWS!
Tour of Beijing: Intxausti holds off Daniel Martin
October 14, Stage 4: Yanqing - Mentougou Miaofeng Mountain 150.5km
Benat Intxausti (Movistar) - Photo: © Roberto Bettini
Movistar rider takes stage and race lead
Benat Intxausti (Movistar) hung on to win stage 4 of the Tour of Beijing at the top Mentougou Miaofeng Mountain, holding off a last ditch challenge from Daniel Martin (Garmin-Sharp). David Lopez (Sky) finished third.
Intxausti finished three seconds clear of the Irishman and picked up a ten second bonus at the summit to claim the race lead as well as the stage win. Overnight race leader Nacer Bouhanni (FDJ) had been distanced on the lower slopes of the final climb. Intxausti leads the race with just one flat stage remaining. Martin now sits in second overall, ten seconds adrift.
As expected the stage and overall lead were settled on the final climb with the Tour of Beijing providing its first real summit finish in the race’s short history.
The road up to Mentougou Miaofeng Mountain saw a healthy-sized group tackle the lower slopes. Orica GreenEdge were the first team to launch an assault but Movistar, having seen Intxausti already take part in the early break, set the pace on the front of the peloton.
It wasn’t long before race leader Bouhani found himself off the back of the field with a third race leader set to wear the red jersey.
Joseph Dombrowski (Team Sky) injected an early attack and when Movistar peeled off it was left to Belkin to control the peloton. The Dutch team marked Dombrowski with the American unwilling to take a passenger to the line.
Former teammates Adam Hansen and Marco Pinotti – the Italian in his final race before retiring- linked up with Dombrowski again on the attack.
By now the favourites were beginning to show their agitation. Daniel Martin swung to the front and cast a long gaze down the remnants of the field, with Ivan Basso (Cannondale), Rui Costa (Movistar), and Robert Gesink (Belkin) still in contention.
Martin was the first to accelerate, skipping clear with 5km remaining. Brought back, the Irishman remained on the front of the lead group with Pinotti’s break quickly swept up.
Two kilometres later a reduced group of 12 lined out across the road. David Lopez (Team Sky) and Jan Bakelants (RadioShack Leopard) joined forces but they were reeled in with Martin doing the majority of the work.
Once more the peloton hesitated with Martin unwilling or unable to match every attack.
Intxausti seized the moment, accelerating with under two kilometres to go and quickly building up a 10 second lead.
Rui Costa, Lopez, Martin and Bakelants broke clear of the remaining challengers and with 500 meters left Martin struck out with one final attack. He quickly gained on the Movistar rider but with less than 50 meters left he was forced to sit up, Intxausti taking the stage and the overall lead.
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