After a year in which British cyclists have dominated the biggest races, it was somewhat fitting that Steve Cummings (BMC Racing) triumphed on the final stage of the final race of the WorldTour season.
The Brit outsprinted Giro d’Italia champion Ryder Hesjedal (Garmin-Sharp) after the duo held of the peloton on the run-in to Ping Gu Centenary Square.
“I am happy after such a long day,” said Cummings. “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.”
German Tony Martin (Omega Pharma-QuickStep) finished in the peloton to maintain his overall lead and defend the title won in 2011 ahead of Francesco Gavazzi (Astana) and Edvald Boasson Hagen (Team Sky), who finished third on the stage to move on to the overall podium.
“I am super happy — over the moon,” said Martin. “It’s a really special win for me because I think there was a little bit of pressure on me but I think a lot of people were expecting for me to win again, but there was no time trial. I’m really proud of myself and of my team-mates.”
Cummings, who won his first Grand Tour stage at the Vuelta a Espana in September, formed part of a 12-man breakaway on the 182.5km stage and Hesjedal bridged across to the lead group on the penultimate climb.
With overall victory in mind, Hesjedal attacked at the summit of the final climb and was joined by Cummings, with the pair powering away from their breakaway companions on the descent to the finish.
And it was Cummings who won the sprint for victory, while the peloton crossed the line 17 seconds later to ensure overall victory for Martin.
Tour of Beijing stage five – result
1) Steve Cummings (GBR) – BMC Racing – 4:05:08 hours
2) Ryder Hesjedal (CAN) – Garmin-Sharp +2″
3) Edvald Boasson Hagen (NOR) – Team Sky +17″
4) Daniele Bennati (ITA) – RadioShack-Nissan-Trek – same time
5) Tim Wellens (BEL) – Lotto-Belisol
6) Francesco Gavazzi (ITA) – Astana
7) Tom Jelte Slagter (NED) – Rabobank
8) Rafal Majka (POL) – SaxoBank-Tinkoff
9) Mathias Frank (SWI) – BMC Racing
10) Simon Clarke (AUS) – Orica-GreenEDGE
1) Tony Martin (GER) – Omega Pharma-QuickStep – 17:16:56 hours
2) Francesco Gavazzi (ITA) – Astana +40″
3) Edvald Boasson Hagen (NOR) – Team Sky +46″
4) Daniel Martin (IRL) – Garmin-Sharp +50″
5) Eros Capecchi (ITA) – Liquigas-Cannondale +52″
6) Rinaldo Nocentini (ITA) – Ag2r La Mondiale +56″
7) Rafal Majka (POL) – SaxoBank-Tinkoff – same time
8) Tomasz Marczynski (POL) – Vacansoleil-DCM – same time
9) Rui Costa (POR) – Movistar +1’00”
10) Tim Wellens (BEL) – Lotto-Belisol – same time