Heinrich Haussler (Garmin-Cervélo) sprinted to win Tour of Beijing stage two on Thursday in Men Tou Gou, China. He nipped Denis Galimzyanov (Katusha) on the line after holding back an early surge by Sky's Davide Appollonio.
"The whole year's been up and down, it hasn't gone the way I've wanted," said Haussler. "I am just happy to finish off the season with a win."
The Australian won two sprints in the Tour of Qatar and the points classification in Paris-Nice this spring. Knee problems, though, ruined most of his season.
David Millar positioned Garmin team-mate Haussler and Paris-Roubaix winner, Johan Van Summeren for the final metres.
"He was as cool as a cucumber, I thought he wasn't even going to do the sprint," Millar explained. "I guess he was just keeping his cool and biding his time, but he still thought that he went out too early."
Haussler followed Sky's Italian sprinter, Appollonio down the left-hand side until the speed dropped. He then moved right and held off Galimzyanov's charge by centimetres.
Dutch track star, Theo Bos (Rabobank) finished third.
"There was no lead-out order," Millar said, "Heins just did it own his own."
"We didn't see him all day," Van Summeren added. "Dave and I dropped back and took him to the front."
The day started in Beijing and ended to the west, on the city's sixth ring road in the Men Tou Gou district. The district, population 270,000, is mountainous and provided a testing circuit.
The main field caught an early escape on the third and final circuit, just 12 kilometres remaining in the 137-kilometre stage. Thomas De Gendt (Vacansoleil-DCM) was the last to remain free.
"The sprint was hectic, crazy," Haussler said. "With two kilometres to go, I was still far back. Thank god Dave and Summy [Van Summeren] were there.
"I gave [Matt] Goss a good lead-out at the Worlds and knew I was in great form. I came here with the intention to go for a stage win. It happened."
The race travels north tomorrow, along the Great Wall in Badaling and finishes in Yongning. It may prove to be the inaugural tour's hardest day with its three category one climbs.
Tony Martin (HTC-Highroad) leads the race by 17 seconds over Millar thanks to his win yesterday in the time trial.
"I have a good gap and condition," said Martin. "Tomorrow is the queen stage. I'll have to watch the best climbers, but I think I have good chances."
Tour of Beijing 2011, stage two: Bird's Nest to Men Tou Gou, 137km
1. Heinrich Haussler (Aus) Garmin-Cervelo
2. Denis Galimzyanov (Rus) Katusha
3. Theo Bos (Ned) Rabobank
4. Francesco Chicchi (Ita) Quick Step
5. Alexander Kristoff (Nor) BMC Racing
6. Elia Viviani (Ita) Liquigas-Cannondale
7. Davide Appollonio (Ita) Sky
8. Giacomo Nizzolo (Ita) Leopard-Trek
9. Manuele Mori (Ita) Lampre-ISD
10. Angel Madrazo (Spa) Movistar all same time
Overall classification after stage two
1. Tony Martin (Ger) HTC-Highroad
2. David Millar (GBr) Garmin-Cervelo at 17 secs
3. Alex Dowsett (GBr) Sky at 24 secs
4. Chris Froome (GBr) Sky at 26 secs
5. Steve Cummings (GBr) Sky at 35 secs
6. Olivier Kaisen (Bel) Omega Pharma-Lotto at 39 secs
7. Luis Leon Sanchez (Spa) Rabobank at 41 secs
8. Jean-Christophe Peraud (Fra) Ag2r at 43 secs
9. Dario Cataldo (Ita) Quick Step at 43 secs
10. Andriy Grivko (Ukr) Astana at 43 secs
Local spectators. Photo: ©TDWsport.com
Peloton on stage two
The four-man escape group
Race leader Tony Martin in red
Stage winner Heinrich Haussler on the podium
Tour of Beijing faces smog and police
Stage one: Martin holds off British charge to win Beijing time trial
Tour of Beijing: A step forward for cycling?
Team Sky get ready for Tour of Beijing
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