Spain’s Benat Intxausti launched a dominant attack on the long, final climb of the day to win the fourth stage of the Tour of Beijing yesterday and seize the leader’s red jersey.
The Movistar Team rider made his move just more than 2km away from the finish line in the hills of the Mentougou District, northwest of the Chinese capital.
With some of the competition’s top contenders — including world champion Rui Costa of Portugal and Germany’s defending title holder Tony Martin — in the chasing group, Intxausti had to give it everything he had, grimacing with effort and regularly glancing behind.
In the event, it was Ireland’s Daniel Martin who mounted the most effective counterattack and looked for a time as if he could reel in the Spaniard, but the 27-year-old Intxausti held on to cross the line three seconds ahead.
With a 10-second time bonus for winning the 150.5km stage, the win sent Intxausti straight to the top of the overall classification, holding a virtually unassailable 10-second lead on Daniel Martin from Team Garmin-Sharp with only the flat final stage in Beijing to go.
The other placings also mirrored the stage result, with Intxausti’s fellow countryman David Lopez, of Team Sky, in third, Movistar teammate Costa fourth and Romain Bardet of France (Team Ag2r-La Mondiale) in fifth.
Tony Martin, the London Olympics silver medalist who won both the first two editions of the Tour of Beijing, stood sixth.