Martin wins Tour of Beijing

World time trial champion defends Tour title as BMC Racing’s Steven Cummings claims the final stage win.

The Tour of Beijing is China’s first World Tour event, and marks the last tour of the racing season [AFP]
The Tour of Beijing is China’s first World Tour event, and marks the last tour of the racing season [AFP]

Tony Martin of Germany successfully defended his Tour of Beijing title Saturday while Steven Cummings of Britain beat Ryder Hesjedal in a two-man sprint to claim the fifth and final stage.

Canada’s Hesjedal led the final climb to tear apart the leading group of breakaway riders on the 182.5 kilometre stage, but neither he nor Cummings could threaten Omega Pharma-QuickStep’s Martin for the overall victory.

Cummings, of BMC Racing, easily won the sprint to take the stage with Team Sky rider Edvald Boasson Hagen of Norway finishing third. Martin finished the stage 18 seconds behind.

Overall, Martin finished 40 seconds ahead of Francesco Gavazzi of Astana. Boasson Hagen of Team Sky was a further six seconds back.

Good year

It is Martin’s seventh victory this year, including the team and individual time trials in the Road Cycling World Championships.

“I am super happy, over the moon,” Martin said.

“It’s a really special win for me because I think there was a little bit of pressure on me. A lot of people were expecting for me to win again. I’m really proud of myself and of my teammates which did a great job this week.”

On the final stage, a dozen riders broke away from the pack at the 87.5 kilometre mark, gaining more than 90 seconds on the peloton. Twenty kilometres later, Hesjedal accelerated and was followed by Cummings.

Hesjedal, the 2012 Giro d ‘Italia winner, said he never gave up on winning the stage.

“I believed it was possible to win until we crossed the first line,” Hesjedal said.

“We had very little information about the gap, and given we had 35 seconds at the top of the last climb and a few seconds of time bonus to take on the finish line, I thought I was going for final victory.”

But Cummings proved to be fastest.

“I am happy after such a long day,” Cummings said.

“You have to try in the breakaway. It was a big breakaway, so it was difficult for the peloton to chase behind, so long as we kept the pressure on in front. When we were together, we did a good job together.”

RadioShack-Nissan’s Andy Schleck abandoned the stage after 42 kilometres due a nagging hip injury. The 2010 Tour de France champion, and runner-up in 2009 and 2011, failed to win a race this year.

Source : AP

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