Chaves challenges in final, finishes 8th on stage 2 at Tour of BeijingSat 11 Oct 2014
Colombian climber Esteban Chaves challenged in the closing moments of the shortened stage two at the Tour of Beijing today, taking eighth position ahead of teammate Daryl Impey in ninth.
Due to poor air quality, the original 147.5km stage from Chong Li to Yanqing was reduced to 111km finishing at the Yan Jia Ping king of the mountain summit.
Chaves hit the front on the aggressive final kilometre climb but was unable to match the sheer power of Philippe Gilbert (BMC) who came over the top for the victory.
“Because no one knew the climb, all we knew was that there was a climb with an 8% average, we really had to just play it out,” sport director Matt White said.
“In the end it was a climb that the pure sprinters didn’t get over, it was that little bit too hard, so we went to our second objective of the race which is to look after Esteban to ride general classification.”
In a reasonably quiet day on the road, a group of four riders - Alexis Gougeard (ALM), Laurent Mangel (FDJ), Julian Alaphilippe (OPQ) and Fabio Silvestre (TFR) - formed the main move of the day.
Despite the shortened route that eliminating the original sprint finish prediction, the quartet weren’t given the leniency the stay away, granted a maximum advantage of less than two minutes.
One by one the breakaway dropped back to the peloton, Alaphilippe first and eventually Mangel in the final kilometres.
At the bottom of the climb to the finish, much of the bunch was together but the aggressive finale proved too much for the pure pace men to contend.
Looking ahead to the final three days of racing, White said there was some uncertainty with any further route changes.
“The big question for the next couple of days is how much the pollution is going to affect the stages,” White said.
“The organisers will be making decisions day to day, and we will need to do the same.
“Tomorrow’s stage resulted in a sprint last year. It’s a solid day but the hardest climbs are a long way from the finish so it’s a race that will be quite aggressive and it’s certainly a day that our sprinters should feature.”