Spain’s Benat Intxausti won the Tour of Beijing Tuesday, as Slovenian Luka Mezgec edged out Nacer Bouhanni in the event’s final meters to deny the French sprinter a third stage victory. Red jersey Intxausti, whose powerful attack in Monday’s hill stage had given him the overall lead, came home safely in the peloton to take the title for his Movistar team, which also includes Portugal’s world champion Rui Costa.
“I’m very happy with my whole season and above all, to put a finishing touch to the team’s season,” said Intxausti, 27, who also won the 16th stage of the Giro d’Italia this year.
The 117-kilometer fifth stage from Tiananmen Square to the Bird’s Nest stadium in the north of the Chinese capital, featuring 12 laps of an essentially flat 7.5-kilometer loop, was always likely to end in a bunch finish. Bouhanni, who had won two of the first four stages, made his move just a few meters too early and Mezgec was led out by his Argos-Shimano team to overtake him and win by a bike length.
“I’ve been waiting a really long time for this and today I succeeded,” Mezgec, 22, said in a report released by the organizers. “Today every single guy did his own job in a perfect way.”
With a 10-second bonus available for the stage win, Germany’s Tony Martin, who had won the first two editions of the event but was 24 seconds behind Intxausti overall, made a brave last-ditch attempt to retain his title with just over three kilometers to go. But the London Olympics silver medallist was pegged back, leaving the sprinters to duel for line honors. Bouhanni, 23, of Francaise des Jeux, took the green jersey for the points competition.