FRANCESCO GAVAZZI WON the third stage of the Tour of Beijing in dramatic style on Thursday, but the Italian remained in second place overall behind last year’s champion Tony Martin.
Gavazzi, who races for Astana Pro Team, burst through in the final minutes of the race to overtake Edvald Boasson-Hagen and Dan Martin on the finishing line.
Boasson-Hagen had made a bold sprint for victory with just four kilometres remaining but the Norwegian could not maintain his lead over the chasing pack in the crucial final moments of the race.
Martin then took the initiative and briefly led on the final dash for the finishing line, but it was Gavazzi who timed his sprint to perfection and claimed victory in the 162.5 kilometre race in just over four hours.
Gavazzi’s victory shaved just 10 seconds off Tony Martin’s overall lead of 50 seconds coming into Thursday’s race.
Martin, who races for Omega Pharma-QuickStep, won the second stage on Wednesday after dominating for most of the race and cruising across the line with a huge lead of 46 seconds.
With just two races remaining in the five-day tour, the 27-year-old German, who took silver in the men’s individual time trial at the Olympics this year, remains in a commanding position to retain the title he won last year at China’s first World Tour calendar event.
Thursday’s race was staged from China’s hilly western suburbs to the Great Wall at Badaling, probably the most visited section of the wall.
The Tour of Beijing is the final event of the season.
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