Tour of Beijing set to be hardest ever

The 2013 Tour of Beijing will have “the most challenging course in its short history, featuring a mountaintop finish on the fourth stage before the traditional finale from Tienanmen Square to the Bird's Nest Olympic Plaza in central Bejing.

This year's race, from October 11-15, is the last UCI WorldTour race on the calendar. It covers 826 kilometers in five stages. Tony Martin (Omega Pharma-Quick Step) won the 2012 Tour of Beijing but the lack of a time trial stage will limit his chances this year.

"We continue to work hard on the course that provides scenic and exciting stages that both showcase the best of Beijing and provide a challenging race for riders," said Global Cycling Director Alain Rumpf.”

The first stage is 190.5km from Shunyi to Huairou Studio City, and will be one for the sprinters. Stage two, from Huairou Studio City to Yanqing, is the longest at 201.5km. It has four classified climbs, but the last one is 50km from the finish line.

Stage three, from Yanqing to Qiandiajian (176km) is “a considerably bumpy road”with seven ranked climbs, two of which are category two.

The fourth stage is set to be “the toughest stage in Tour of Beijing history”, covering 150.5km from Yanqing to a finish atop the Mentougou Miaofeng Mountain. The race press release says that “The final climb is preluded by an initial category one and short and sharp category 2 climb, making it a tough day at the office.”

The race then ends the next day with the traditional stage in the city of Beijing, starting at the historic Tiananmen Square to an expected mass sprint finish at the Bird's Nest Stadium.

2012 Tour de France winner Bradley Wiggins (Team Sky) has hinted that he will ride the Tour of Beijing after missing much of the middle part of the season. All 19 WorldTour teams will take part, with several wild card teams completing the field.

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