Martin Wins Stage 4 of Beijing Tour
Dan Martin (Garmin-Sharp) has climbed to victory in Stage 4 of the Tour of Beijing 2014. The Irishman, who won the Giro di Lombardia last week, surged away from the lead group in the final km to win the mountainous, 157-km ride from Yanqing to Mentougou Miaofeng Mountain in 4:12:14. Esteban Chaves (Orica-GreenEdge) outsprinted Philippe Gilbert (BMC) for second at 0:02. Gilbert remains the race leader going into tomorrow’s final stage in Beijing.
In the first 25 km, Graeme Brown (Belkin), Guillaume Boivin (Cannondale), Boris Vallee (Lotto-Belisol), and Julien Vermote (Omega Pharma-QuickStep) sallied off of the front. The quartet ran up a four-minute lead, which necessitated pursuit by BMC on behalf of Gilbert, as Vermote was only 0:21 behind Gilbert at the beginning of the stage.
Garmin-Sharp joined BMC in the chase, and the gap had narrowed to less than a minute at the base of the climb to the finish. Vermote dropped his companions and set out on his own. The bunch reeled him in, and a flurry of attacks ensued. Garmin-Sharp led the chase, but Ag2r-La Mondiale and Lampre-Merida joined the American squad at the front.
Louis Vervaeke (Lotto-Belisol) jumped clear. Dario Cataldo (Sky) went to the front to set the pace for teammate David Lopez. Ryder Hesjedal (Garmin-Sharp) countered. The Canadian forged a 10-second lead. Behind, Cataldo continued to lead the chase, while Martin took the Italian’s wheel. Pieter Weening (Orica-GreenEdge) and Samuel Sanchez (BMC) took over at the front from Cataldo, while Martin remained just behind, ready to pounce.
In the last km, Martin jumped. Only Chaves could follow immediately. The Irishman accelerated again and dropped the Colombian. Behind, Gilbert attempted to limit his losses. The Belgian succeeded in keeping his overall lead by 0:03.
Martin, who began the day 0:11 behind Gilbert on GC and who had finished second in stages in 2012 and 2013, concentrated on getting a stage win today. “I’m really happy to finally get a win in China after getting second on stages the last two years,” the Garmin-Sharp man said. “The team did an amazing job to set me up with Ryder doing incredible once more. The headwind on the climb made it easy in the group, so I knew getting the red jersey would be difficult. I concentrated on winning the stage and if I could take enough time, then great. I am very happy to get another win and 2nd on GC going into the last stage is a great result for the team’s hardwork all week.”
In the overall, Gilbert leads Martin by 0:03 and Chaves by 0:09. Stage 5, the final stage of this year’s Tour of Beijing, will present opportunities for Martin or Chaves to take enough seconds from Gilbert to win the race. The 117-km circuit race from Tienanmen Square to Bird’s Nest Piazza will have two intermediate sprints. Will Gilbert keep his lead and win the race? Check in at www.roadcycling.com and find out!