Benat Intxausti (Movistar) won the mountain-top finish on stage four of the 2013 Tour of Beijing on Monday and with it took the overall lead in the race with one stage remaining.
Daniel Martin (Garmin-Sharp) fought hard for the stage win but had to settle for second, with David lopez (Sky) in third.
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Although pre-stage predictions marked this stage as one of an escape group to reach the final ascent of Mentougou Miaofeng Mountain ahead of the bunch, the peloton reached the foot of the climb intact. Alex Dowsett (Movistar) used his time trial talents to punch out a quick pace for the first couple of kilometres for team-mates Inxausti and world champion Rui Costa.
Adam Hansen (Lotto-Belisol), Josh Edmondson (Sky) and Marco Pinotti (BMC Racing) – in his last race before retirement – were the first group to make an effort to break away from the bunch on the final climb, but were soon brought back to heel.
Lopez then broke free, and only Jan Bakelants (RadioShack) followed him. The pair opened up a gap of around 15 seconds until the final three kilometres when Daniel Martin decided to up the pace and dragged the remnants of the peloton up to them.
Intxausti then attacked, with Lopez, Martin and Costa in pursuit. Martin chased hard but appeared to run out of steam in the final 100 metres as Intxausti took the win with his team-mate Costa marking Lopez to put the Sky man in third.
The final stage of the 2013 Tour of Beijing – and the final day in the 2013 UCI WorldTour – is a flat 117km blast from Tiananmen Square to Bird’s Nest Piazza that should be another day for the sprinters.
Tour of Beijing 2013, stage four: Yanqing – Mentougou Miaofeng Mountain, 151km
1. Benat Intxausti (Spa) Movistar in 3-43-25
2. Daniel Martin (Irl) Garmin-Sharp at 3 secs
3. David Lopez (Spa) Sky at 4 secs
4. Rui Costa (Por) Movistar at 6 secs
5. Romain Bardet (Fra) Ag2r at 11 secs
6. Tony Martin (Ger) Omega Pharma-QuickStep at 11 secs
7. Jan Bakelants (Bel) RadioShack-Leopard at 13 secs
8. Robert Gesink (Ned) Belkin at 13 secs
9. Ivan Basso (Ita) Cannondale at 13 secs
10. Mathias Frank (Sui) BMC Racing at 18 secs
Overall classification after stage four
1. Benat Intxausti (Spa) Movistar in 17-11-50
2. Daniel Martin (Irl) Garmin-Sharp at 10 secs
3. David Lopez (Spa) Sky at 13 secs
4. Rui Costa (Por) Movistar at 18 secs
5. Romain Bardet (Fra) Ag2r at 24 secs
6. Tony Martin (Ger) Omega Pharma-QuickStep at 24 secs
7. Jan Bakelants (Bel) RadioShack-Leopard at 26 secs
8. Robert Gesink (Ned) Belkin at 26 secs
9. Ivan Basso (Ita) Cannondale at 26 secs
10. Garikoitz Bravo (Spa) Euskaltel-Euskadi at 31 secs
Garmin-Sharp and Saxo-Tinkoff at front of peloton
Climbing on stage four
Josh Edmondson and Marco Pinotti attack
Benat Intxausti wins stage four
Benat Intxausti moves into the overall race lead with one stage remaining