Tour of Beijing (st. 5)
Beñat Intxausti conquers the Tour of Beijing after magnificent defense from team-mates into final stage through the streets of Beijing; Movistar Team ends 2013 season as top squad in the WorldTour rankings
There were no troubles for Beñat Intxausti to retain his jersey and climb onto the highest step of 3rd Tour of Beijing’s final podium, the final competition for the Movistar Team in 2013 coming to an end on Tuesday with 117km on the streets of the Chinese capital city, starting at Tian An Men Square and finishing just in front of the Bird’s Nest olympic stadium. The telephone squad defended themselves at the front for most of the twelve urban laps, controlling a five-man breakway that included Marco Pinotti (BMC), just over 20 seconds behind Intxausti in the GC and the biggest threat for the Blues throughout the day.
The mass sprint -which saw Slovenian Luka Mezgec (BMC) claiming the win- completed Beñat’s effort, coming across the line safely at the front alongside Rui Costa -4th overall- to avoid any troubles and secure his fifth victory in the pro ranks, as well as Movistar Team’s 32nd in 2013, Eusebio Unzue’s third best tally in 34 years of history, only behind 1998 (37) and 1997 (35). The Spanish team also claimed a landmark success as they became the world’s best team in the 2013 season by conquering the final WorldTour ranking.
REACTION / Beñat Intxausti: “It was a day to pay attention to the bonus seconds and especially those time gaps that always happen at fast finishes. The team was superb from the start, letting a not-so-dangerous break go away and controlling the race before the teams with sprinters took over with two laps remaining. We got well through the day, that was the goal and we’re happy with everything. Winning a World Tour stagerace in front of the likes of Daniel Martin, Tony Martin… is even more prestigious, and from a personal point of view, closing this season with such a victory makes me more calm and confident to go on holidan and start training. Just as ever, I dedicate this to the team, my family, the fans always supporting us and Xavi and my grandpa. I didn’t have the legs I expected to in the Vuelta, but seeing myself doing well through the Angliru was a confidence boost so I could finish it off well in the Como siempre, se lo dedico al equipo, a la familia, a la gente que me apoya y a Xavi y mi abuelo. En la Vuelta no estuve al nivel que quería, pero el verme en el Angliru delante me dio moral para terminar el año bien en las clásicas italianas y aquí en China. Entrené lo justo, pero descansé mucho y me recuperé bien de la Vuelta que era lo que quería y me ha salido bien.
“This victory rounds off a great season for me. I think that taking leadership roles in the Giro made me gain consistence and courage, and now this victory in a World Tour race is sort of a confirmation. I’m growing year by year and that will be my intention for the next season. I’m especially happy about the team. Winning the World Tour teams’ classification, becoming the World number 1… it’s the icing on the cake. I brought what I could and it was amazing how things went this season: podiums in two GT’s, the Worlds, every single victory… it really shows our potential.”