Portuguese rider from Movistar Team takes fine 5th at Badaling's summit finish, still into Tour of Beijing's overall top ten with two mid-mountain stages remaining
Competitive until the last sheet in the calendar is fallen: that’s how the impressive 2012 season by Rui Costa can be defined, the Portuguese rider firmly set into the best 10 riders in the world ranking and still offering joy to Movistar Team as he came close to victory on day three in the Tour of Beijing, the only summit finish in the Chinese stagerace with the Badaling climb (Cat. 3) just into the Chinese Big Wall after three other ascents and 162km from the start at Men Tou Gou. The Iberian, supported by Herrada, Sanz, Iriarte and Konovalovas in the flat prior to the climb, the Blues always riding together as the bunch chased down the seven-man attempt leading the race, had later help from Gutiérrez, Lastras and a recovered Juanjo Cobo, whose punctured yesterday avoided him making the elite group.
An attack from Edvald Boasson Hagen (SKY) with 3.5k from the finish, just before a descent leading to the hard final kilometer (7%), took the sprinters out of position and forced Costa to an extra effort that he assumed with strength: Rui finished in 5th spot behind winner Francesco Gavazzi (AST) as he kept his privileged top-ten overall -now in 9th place- before two up-and-down stages to close Movistar Team’s second season in the top tier. The first one on Friday will cover 165km between Yanqing and Chang Ping, with three Cat. 3 climbs and a long descent into the last straight.