Tour of Beijing 2013: Benat Intxausti attacks solo to win stage four summit finish on Miaofeng Mountain

Benat Intxausti (Movistar) attacked solo on the Mentougou Miaofeng Mountain to win the penultimate stage of the 2013 Tour of Beijing and move into the overall race lead.

The Spanish team dictated the day’s racing, with riders involved in the break and Lopez Herrada, world champion Rui Costa and finally Intxausti all attacking on the final climb to tear the leading group apart.

Benat Intxausti, pictured at the Giro d’Italia, won stage four of the Tour of Beijing to move into the overall lead (Pic: Sirotti)

And it was Intxausti who timed his attack to perfection, going clear with two kilometres remaining and holding off Irishman Dan Martin (Garmin-Sharp) to move in to the red jersey.

Costa and Sky’s David Lopez were also just behind Intxausti, having both launched their own attacks earlier in the climb, but the Spaniard – who started the day in eighth overall – just about had the legs to stay clear.

Intxausti had earlier been part of an initial four-man break, where he had taken a two-second time bonus at the first intermediate sprint, but his decision to rejoin the bunch paid dividends as he stormed to victory.

As ever the attacks started almost from the off, but the peloton was still together as the riders passed under the Great Wall of China.

Four riders eventually earned themselves a small lead, with Movistar duo Intxausti and Ivan Gutierrez joined by Zdenek Stybar (Omega Pharma-QuickStep) and Maurits Lammertink (Vacansoleil-DCM) before Intxausti dropped back.

With the lead fluctuating around the two-minute mark, six riders attacked off the front of the bunch in an attempt to join the three remaining escapees.

King of the Mountains contenders Damiano Carruso (Cannondale) – in the polka dot jersey – and Wesley Sulzberger (Orica-GreenEDGE) were among them having racked up the climbing points in yesterday’s break.

Their team-mates, Daniele Ratto (Cannondale) and Mitchell Docker (Orica-GreenEDGE), also joined the pursuing group, as did Stein Vandenbergh (Omega Pharma-QuickStep) and Moreno Hofland (Belkin).

Caruso, Vandenbergh and Hofland bridged the gap, but the Orica-GreenEDGE duo were reabsorbed by the bunch, as was Ratto as the pace in the peloton was upped, forcing red jersey Nacer Bouhanni to the back.

Caruso picked up some more King of the Mountains points, but with Garmin-Sharp among the teams driving the peloton the lead was eventually brought right down.

Vandenbergh attempted a solo break as the peloton bore down on the escapees but he too was caught by the bunch as they approached the final climb to the finish.

Orica-GreenEDGE were the first to mount a charge on the climb, with BMC Racing, Belkin and Garmin-Sharp all putting riders at the front of the bunch.

Sky also came forward with Josh Edmondson and Joe Dombrowski as Belkin put the hurt on at the front, with Bouhanni among the riders to be dropped on the category one climb.

Ivan Basso (Cannondale) and Adam Hansen (Lotto-Belisol) were other GC contenders to come forward in a very strung-out bunch but Richie Porte (Sky) remained hidden further back.

Dombrowski attacked off the front and shortly after team-mate Lopez joined the two young Sky riders, and his attack successfully broke the leading group up further.

Hansen was next to attack solo and was allowed to build a 30m lead before BMC’s Marco Pinotti – in his penultimate day of professional racing – and Edmondson joined him.

Hansen was dropped shortly afterwards before Herrada closed the gap to the two remaining leaders.

Back-to-back defending champion Tony Martin (Omega Pharma-Quickstep) remained in the leading group, showing some new-found climbing legs, while namesake Dan showed his hand by moving forward with Costa on his wheel.

The cat-and-mouse attacks continued throughout the climb, and Lopez was next to go off the front with Tour de France stage winner Jan Bakelants (Radioshack-Leopard) bridging as the two went clear with four kilometres to go.

Tony Martin drove the bunch behind as Bakelants and Lopez worked together to maintain a small lead.

Dan Martin went across to the two leaders, however, and brought the leading group – with Costa and Basso in tow – together.

Costa attacked next but Martin ensured it came to nothing, before Intxausti attacked from deep and went clear.

Lopez tried to bridge but was unable to keep up on his own, as Costa and Dan Martin joined him in a chasing group.

Intxausti stayed clear, however, and enters the final day’s racing of the WorldTour season with a ten-second overall lead as Movistar – still in contention for number one in the world team ranking – look to end the season on a high.

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Tour of Beijing 2013: stage four – result

1 Benat Intxausti (ESP) – Movistar in 3:43:25hrs
2 Daniel Martin (IRL) – Garmin-Sharp +3”
3 David Lopez (ESP) – Sky Procycling +4”
4 Rui Costa (POR) – Movistar +6”
5 Romain Bardet (FRA) – Ag2r-La Mondiale +11”
6 Tony Martin (GER) – Omega Pharma-Quickstep same time
7 Jan Bakelants (BEL) – Radioshack-Leopard +13”
8 Robert Gesink (NED) – Belkin Pro Cycling same time
9 Ivan Basso (ITA) – Cannondale
10 Mathias Frank (SUI) – BMC Racing +18”

General classification

1 Benat Intxausti (ESP) – Movistar in 17:11:50hrs
2 Daniel Martin (IRL) – Garmin-Sharp +10”
3 David Lopez (ESP) – Sky Procycling +13”
4 Rui Costa (POR) – Movistar +18”
5 Romain Bardet (FRA) – Ag2r-La Mondiale +24”
6 Tony Martin (GER) – Omega Pharma-Quickstep same time
7 Jan Bakelants (BEL) – Radioshack-Leopard +26”
8 Robert Gesink (NED) – Belkin Pro Cycling same time
9 Ivan Basso (ITA) – Cannondale
10 Garikoitz Bravo (ESP) – Euskaltel-Euskadi +31”


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