The third edition of the Tour of Beijing brought the curtain down on the WorldTour calendar for 2013, with Benat Intxausti (Movistar) emerging victorious ahead of Dan Martin (Garmin-Sharp) and David Lopez (Sky).
In 2011 and 2012, the final destination of the red jersey was decided early on as Tony Martin (Omega Pharma Quick Step) powered to early stage victories, but this time around, the summit finish at Mentougou Miaofeng Mountain on the penultimate day added a greater degree of suspense to proceedings. This was where Intxausti laid the foundation for his overall victory, slipping off the front of the leading group two kilometres from the summit to claim stage honours and the red jersey.
The excitement was not limited to the lone summit finish, however. Stage 1 saw Thor Hushovd (BMC) claim a victory that he hopes will augur well for 2014 after two mixed campaigns, Nacer Bouhanni (FDJ) emphatically underlined his class with two smart sprint wins in Yanqing and Qiandiajian, while Luka Mezgec (Argos-Shimano) got his just reward after a string of near misses when he won the final stage outside the striking Bird’s Nest Stadium.
The race also saw newly-crowned world champion Rui Costa enjoy his final outing as a Movistar rider, and his performance helped capture the teams classification in the final WorldTour rankings.
Like last year, Dan Martin was an aggressive presence in the race, but this time around, he had a familiar ursine friend on hand to offer support – the Tour of Beijing panda was a recurring presence on the roadside.
Check out Cyclingnews’ Tour of Beijing picture gallery here.