Thor Hushovd (BMC Racing) took the bunch sprint at the end of the opening stage of the 2013 Tour of Beijing on Friday.
Luka Mezgec (Argos-Shimano) came home in second, with Nikolas Maes (Omega Pharma) in third.
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The Norwegian road race champion’s BMC squad had taken control of the peloton in the last 20 kilometres of the race, reeling in Sander Cordeel (Lotto-Belisol), the lone remnant of the day’s four-man breakaway, with 5km to go.
Although BMC’s lead in the peloton was lost in the final few kilometres as rival sprint teams jockeyed for pole position – notably Cannondale and Orica-GreenEdge – Hushovd capitalised on their earlier work, lunging his bike over the line to take the early overall race lead.
Tomorrow (Saturday) the riders take on hilly stage two from Huairou Studio City to Yanqing, covering 202km and including four categorised climbs, three of them second category. The five-day race concludes on Tuesday, October 15.
Tour of Beijing 2013, stage one: Shunyi to Huairou Studio City, 191km
1. Thor Hushovd (Nor) BMC Racing in 4-20-34
2. Luka Mezgec (Slo) Argos-Shimano
3. Nikolas Maes (Bel) Omega Pharma-QuickStep
4. Alessandro Petacchi (Ita) Omega Pharma-QuickStep
5. Michael Matthews (Aus) Orica-GreenEdge
6. Enrique Sanchez (Spa) Movistar
7. Rudiger Selig (Ger) Katusha
8. Nacer Bouhanni (Fra) FDJ
9. Jonas Vangenechten (Bel) Lotto-Belisol
10. Roberto Ferrari (Ita) Lampre-Merida
Overall classification after stage one
1. Thor Hushovd (Nor) BMC Racing in 4-20-24
2. Willem Wauters (Bel) Vacansoleil-DCM at 3 secs
3. Luka Mezgec (Slo) Argos-Shimano at 4 secs
4. Nikolas Maes (Bel) Omega Pharma-QuickStep at 6 secs
5. Ryota Nishizono (Jap) Champion System at 9 secs
6. Alessandro Petacchi (Ita) Omega Pharma-QuickStep at 10 secs
7. Michael Matthews (Aus) Orica-GreenEdge at 10 secs
8. Enrique Sanchez (Spa) Movistar at 10 secs
9. Rudiger Selig (Ger) Katusha at 10 secs
10. Nacer Bouhanni (Fra) FDJ at 10 secs
The hotly-contested final sprint
Thor Hushovd wins
Thor Hushovd takes the overall race lead after winning the opening stage