Beñat Intxausti took his second victory of the season on the queen stage of the Tour of Beijing continuing Movistar's excellent season, and setting up overall victory in the last WorldTour race of the 2103 season.
The Spaniard rider rode away from the pack on the final climb of the day, after several efforts, including one from his teammate and new world champion Costa. At one stage it looked like he might be caught by Dan Martin, but a classy second spurt of energy to the line put him beyond reach of the chasing Garmin-Sharp rider.
“I am really happy,” Intxausti said after the stage. “It was a very close finish. I could see Daniel Martin was very close to me. I went full gas to the end so I could raise my hands with enough time. This has been a really good year, with the Giro. The Vuelta wasn’t so good but, with this, I am ending the year very well.”
The stage victory moved Intxausti into the lead of the general classification, 10 seconds ahead of Martin, with just the final circuit stage in the centre of Beijing remaining. The final stage is a flat 117km ride through central Beijing, starting in Tiananmen Square and finishing with 12 circuits around the Olympic Bird’s Nest Stadium.
“I am very happy to take the stage and take the leader’s jersey as well,” said the Movistar rider.
“At the start of the day the plan was (to ride) for Rui Costa and for me, so we had both options. We were both feeling good. In the last two kilometres, I tried to attack so that I could win the stage. Also, we worked hard to take the bonifications, because
they were also important. With myself and Rui Costa, we had two chances to win the stage.”
Provided he remains upright during tomorrow’s final stage, Intxausti will win the race but Movistar looks set to fail to move past Team Sky in the WorldTour team ranking. Movistar went into the Chinese race second in the ranking just over 100 points behind Team Sky. Both Intxausti and Costa made it into the top five and so scored precious points but David Lopez’s third place was just enough to keep Team Sky’s two-year stranglehold on the top spot.