Bicycle Racing News and Opinion
Tuesday, October 14, 2014
Tuesday, October 14, 2014
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Tour of Beijing Final Notes
The Tour of Beijing, the season's final World Tour race, ended today with Phillipe Gilbert the overall winner. There are two more "HC" ranked races left this year, the Japan Cup on the 19th and the Tour of Hainan, running October 20 - 28.
Here are the various teams' comment on the Tour of Beijing:
This from BMC after Stage 4:
Philippe Gilbert's third-place finish on Monday's mountain-top finish at the Tour of Beijing kept him in the leader's jersey with one day of the race to go.
Gilbert said he appreciated the help from the BMC Racing Team's other six riders to stay in the leader's red jersey he earned Friday by winning a smog-shortened stage that also finished going uphill. "We did a great job as a team, first controlling the breakaway and then riding a steady tempo," he said. "The guys rode a nice speed – not too fast, just perfect." When eventual stage winner Daniel Martin (Garmin-Sharp) attacked in the last 300 meters of the 157-kilometer race, Gilbert kept him in sight, finishing two seconds later, just behind runner-up Esteban Chaves (Orica-GreenEdge) and in front of Rui Costa (Lampre-Merida). With only a 117-km stage from Tiananmen Square to a circuit around the Olympic precinct remaining, Gilbert is three seconds ahead of Martin and nine seconds in front of Chaves. "Three seconds is not much, but it is better to have an advantage than to be behind," the former world road champion said. "Let's cross our fingers that the race can go like normal tomorrow and that I can win the general classification."
In addition to the early pace-making by Yannick Eijssen, Martin Kohler and Rick Zabel to keep a four-man breakaway in check, the BMC Racing Team also relied upon Dominik Nerz and Tejay van Garderen to set a high tempo as the final climb began. The last turn at the front came in the last kilometer from Samuel Sánchez, who won his Olympic road race title in Beijing in 2008. "Philippe told me he wanted me to set a high tempo," Sánchez said. "Today was all about working well as a team and helping Philippe." Sánchez finished 14th on the day and is 13th overall. "I am very thankful for what Samuel has done for me the whole season," Gilbert said. "He has been there for almost every win I have had this year." BMC Racing Team Sport Director Max Sciandri agreed. "Samuel was exceptional finishing it off and the team rode great," he said. "It really counts to come to China at the end of the year and have motivation and want to ride and take risks. It is something to say 'bravo' to the team."
And this came from BMC after stage 5:
Philippe Gilbert won the overall title at the Tour of Beijing Tuesday to earn the BMC Racing Team's 30th win of the season and help the American squad finish second in the final UCI team standings.
Gilbert and his BMC teammachine SLR01 crossed the finish line in the peloton at the end of the 117-kilometer circuit race around the Olympic pavilion in Beijing to secure a three-second victory over Dan Martin (Garmin-Sharp). Esteban Chaves (Orica-GreenEdge) finished third, six seconds back. Gilbert's overall win was the first of his career of a WorldTour stage race and seventh on the year, the most by a BMC Racing Team rider during 2014. The 30 victories also matched a BMC Racing Team record, set last year. "This is a big win, not only for me, but also a big one for the team," Gilbert said. "I knew the team was really good here, which gave me confidence. And when you have confidence, there is less pressure. This was a great experience and I am glad my name will be in the palmares. It is a very special victory for me to win in a place like China." Gilbert's other victories this season included his win on Stage 2 that gained him the red leader's jersey, back-to-back victories at Brabantse Pijl and Amstel Gold Race in April and two stages and the overall title of Ster ZLM Toer in June.
Just as it did on Stages 3 and 4, the BMC Racing Team was hard at work protecting Gilbert and his lead during Tuesday's stage. Yannick Eijssen, Martin Kohler, Dominik Nerz, Samuel Sánchez, Tejay van Garderen and Rick Zabel each took turns riding the front to reel in a two-man breakaway that enjoyed a 1:20 advantage heading into the final eight-kilometer lap around several of the 2008 Olympic venues. After the pair was caught in the last kilometer, Sacha Modolo (Lampre-Merida) took the win ahead of Greg Henderson (Lotto-Belisol) and Edvald Boasson Hagen (Team Sky). "The team rode great again today to keep things safe and keep Philippe out front," BMC Racing Team Sport Director Max Sciandri said. "Everyone worked hard right to the very end because we were afraid of gaps in the last kilometer. At 60 kilometers an hour, a small gap is more than three seconds. So a big thanks to all the riders and staff who worked really well to wrap things up right at the end of the season."
Helped by Gilbert's victory, the BMC Racing Team finished second behind Movistar Team, which won the UCI team classification for the second consecutive year. Tinkoff-Saxo, which had been second heading into the Tour of Beijing, finished third. BMC Racing Team Sport Director Yvon Ledanois said the momentum of the BMC Racing Team winning the world championship team time trial last month carried through to China. "All the riders were very motivated to go after the team ranking because we knew it was important for (team sponsor) Andy Rihs and (BMC Racing Team President/General Manager) Jim Ochowicz," Ledanois said. "Before we came here, we spoke with all the riders about getting a good result. And we did it. This was a big result. All of the team and staff can be very proud."
Philippe Gilbert at the start of the 2014 Vuelta stage 6. photo ©Sirotti
The final stage of the Tour of Beijing was a real thriller with Tosh Van der Sande in a leading role. The peloton started on the Tienanmen Square and then headed towards the local circuit where twelve laps of 7.5 kilometres had to be covered. The finish line was drawn at the Bird’s Nest Piazza. Tosh Van der Sande and Laurent Mangel attacked. The course was made for sprinters, still the two escapees could survive very long. With ten kilometres to go, they were still 1’55” ahead of the bunch. Would they make it?
After especially Garmin had done the work, Belkin came to the front. As they approached the finish other sprint teams joined the chase as well. It was really exciting. In the final kilometre Tosh and his companion were caught. Over to the bunch sprint. Greg Henderson came very close to the victory. Only Sacha Modolo crossed the finish line before the Lotto Belisol rider. Edvald Boasson Hagen became third. The overall victory in Beijing was for Philippe Gilbert.
Tosh Van der Sande: “In the beginning Mangel and I didn’t have a high pace. We accelerated in the last four laps. They only caught us with about four hundred metres to go. I felt really strong and was confident to go to the finish and sprint with the two of us. It’s a pity.”
“The last lap I heard we had one and a half minute lead. Then I believed in it. We went full gas. Winning the last race of the season would have been great. I have been close to the win a few times the past races. This motivates me for next season. I joined a break twice and could wear the KOM jersey for two days here, so I can be satisfied about the Tour of Beijing.”
Tosh Van der Sande in stage 9 of this year's Tour of Switzerland. Photo ©Sirotti
This came from Lampre-Merida:
It's a rich final part of the season for Lampre-Merida that, a few days after the success by Conti in Gp Beghelli, obtained its 23rd victory in 2014 thanks to an amazing sprint by Sacha Modolo in the final stage of Tour of Beijing.
At the end of the 117 km from Tiananmen Square to Bird's Nest Piazza, the Italian rider turned into a victory the perfect job LAMPRE-MERIDA did to support him, preceding in the sprint Henderson, Boasson Hagen, Farrar and Hofland (photo).
This is the eighth seasonal success for Modolo (the previous one was the 5th stage of Tour de Suisse) and now the total number ofvictories for Lampre-Merida in 2014 is 23.
"It's so good to end the season winning the last race - Modolo said - My team mates and me tried hard to obtain this success and so it's even more satisfying having got it.
After the victory in Tour de Suisse, I lived a bad period mainly because some health problems, but with the help and the support by the team I could hang in.
I'm happy to have given to the team and to the sponsors a good morning!".
Rui Costa too achieved an important result, finishing the Chinese race in the 4th position of the overall classification. This is an evidence of the high level season the Portuguese rider performed, competing always at the top starting in Tour of Dubai (5-8 February) to the final race in Beijing.
Very good performance in Tour of Beijing by Xu Gang, who gave his constant support to the team and contributed to today success by Modolo.
Sacha Modolo wins Tour of Beijing Stage 5.
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