Nacer Bouhani (FDJ) has won the second stage of the 2013 Tour of Beijing and now leads the race overall.
The Frenchman won a bunch sprint to claim victory at the end of an arduous 201.5km stage from Huariouro Studio City that, despite four categorised climbs, came together for a bunch finish on the flat run in to Yanging.
Bouhanni’s triumph places him on the same aggregate time as stage one winner and previous leader, Thor Hushovd (BMC Racing).
The second stage lit up with 15km remaining when Oliver Kaisen (Lotto Belisol), the last man standing from a five-strong break that had ridden clear for much of the stage, was swept up.
Once Kaisen had been gathered, the sprinters’ teams wasted little time in upping the pace, with Argos-Shimano, BMC Racing, Cannondale, and Omega Pharma-QuickStep conducting an extended drag race to the finish.
Still 3km from the line, and finding themselves on a narrow road, the lead-out trains jostled at full gas to position themselves for the crucial final right hand turn just one kilometre from the finish.
Argos Shimano, riding on the left hand side of the road, appeared to hold the advantage, but as they rounded the final corner, Jens Mouris (Orica-GreenEDGE) found himself off the front with a lead of about five bike lengths.
With 500 metres to go, the Dutchman was swept up by the suddenly rampant FDJ, who positioned Bouhanni perfectly. The Frenchman needed no second invitation and unleashed his sprint about 200 metres from the line to claim a convincing victory.
Roberto Ferrari (Lampre-Merida) finished second after a gutsy solo campaign in the closing kilometre, while Mitchell Docker salvaged something for Orica-GreenEDGE after Mouris’ disappointment.
Just seven seconds now separates the top 10 riders on general classifcation, with Bouhanni and Hushovd locked together in first and second, and Maxime Bouet (Ag2r-La Mondiale), who rode in today’s break, now up to third, just one second behind.
Tomorrow’s 176km third stage from Yanqing to Qiandiajian features seven categorised climbs and a steep descent to a flat finish at the Ciao Young Temple.
Tour of Beijing 2013: stage two – result
1) Nacer Bouhanni (FRA) – FDJ.fr – 4.59.49
2) Roberto Ferrari (ITA) – Lampre-Merida – ST
3) Mitchell Docker (AUS) – Orica-GreenEDGE
4) Matti Breschel (DEN) – Saxo-Tinkoff
5) Alessandro Petacchi (ITA) – Omega Pharma-QuickStep
6) Markus Barry (NED) – Vacansoleil-DCM
7) Jonas Vangenechten (BEL) – Lotto-Belisol
8) Steele Von Hoff (AUS) – Garmin-Sharp
9) Luka Mezgec (POL) – Argos-Shimano
10) Elia Viviani (ITA) – Cannondale
1) Nacer Bouhanni (FRA) – FDJ.fr – 9.20.13
2) Thor Hushovd (NOR) – BMC Racing +0.00
3) Maxime Bouet (FRA) – Ag2r-La Mondiale +1″
4) Willem Wauters (GER) – Vacansoleil-DCM +3″
5) Luka Mezgec (POL) – Argos-Shimano +4″
6) Roberto Ferrari (ITA) – Lampre-Merida – ST
7) Chad Beyer (USA) – Champion System +5″
8) Nikolas Maes (BEL) – Omega Pharma-QuickStep +6″
9) Mitchell Docker (AUS) – Orica-GreenEDGE – ST
10) Olivier Kaisen (BEL) – Lotto-Belisol +7″