Tour of Beijing (st. 4)
Intxausti shows his class again with a perfectly-timed attacked into the Mentougou climb, becomes Tour of Beijing GC leader -with Rui Costa in 4th- just 117km away from the end
The Movistar Team is now just 24 hours away from crowning an absolutely unforgettble 2013 season. The icing on the cake of success this year came on Monday during the Queen stage of the Tour of Beijing, a 150km trek starting at Yanqing and finishing atop the Miaofeng Mountain in Mentougou (Cat-1) after the passage through the Great Wall in Badaling and three other rated climbs. Beñat Intxausti took to fruition an attack with 2km remaining after a final ascent full of moves and at really fast pace, concordant with the day’s rhythm as the first hour saw the riders covering no less than 50 kilometers.
The Basque rider had already made it into an early escape of four riders alongside team-mate Iván Gutiérrez, but following a two-second bonus gained into the first intermediate sprint, he dropped back and let the Cantabrian acting as lookout. The attack was caught at the foot of the last climb, never let go by a bunch -the maximum gap as 2.30- where Dowsett and Sanz, with their approach to the ascent, and Visconti and Herrada, always paying attention to the moves from the favourites, prepared the atmosphere for an attack by Rui Costa. The first move from the Portuguese with 3k remaining was relled back, but allowed a moment of hesitation Intxausti took advantage from to jump ahead and build a gap ultimately enough to stay off the final charge from Dan Martin (GRS).
It’s Intxausti’s 4th victory as a professional rider and Movistar Team’s 31st success of the 2013 season, with the rider from Amorebieta departing tomorrow as GC leader -Rui Costa was fourth in the stage and occupies the same position in the overall- for the 117km in the steets of Beijing, from the Tian An Men Square to the Bird Nest’s Piazza.
REACTION / Beñat Intxausti: “To be honest, we didn’t have a plan to attack from the start and take the bonus seconds, but there was a pretty long downhill in the beginning, we got into a break and Iván Gutiérrez worked his heart out for me so I could notch up those two seconds for the overall standings. I felt quite well yesterday on the climbs and knew that as well myself as Rui could be battling for the stage win today. The final climb was fast, but the pace fell a bit with 2k left, so I jumped. I saw López coming from behind but not being able to catch me, and also Daniel Martin in the finale. I was giving everything I had since I attacked, but could still hang on and even raise my arms to enjoy the win.
“It’s a really important win for me, because I couldn’t make such a great second part of the season as the first one with the Giro. I didn’t feel really well in the Vuelta, and despite working well for the team, it might have not shown my real level. The last days of the Vuelta were the best for me, and that kept me focused to train and take care of myself in the weeks leading up to this race. It might seem like an easy day tomorrow, but the nerves will be up with bonus seconds up for grabs and we will have to stay attentive. Fortunately, I have a strong team at my side, and it will be easier with them to hopefully keep the jersey and get onto the final podium at the end of the day.”