Chaves second on Tour of Beijing queen stage, moves up to third overallMon 13 Oct 2014
Colombian Esteban Chaves has put on an impressive display on the queen stage of the Tour of Beijing to finish second and move into third on general classification.
With six categorised climbs, including a category one to finish, the penultimate day of racing looked set to determine the overall winner as the toughest of the 2014 Tour.
Chaves picked the winning move of Dan Martin (GRS) in the final kilometre latching onto his wheel, but just couldn’t hang on in the closing metres.
The 24-year-old’s efforts were enough to move him into the white young rider’s jersey and the full squad performance shifted ORICA-GreenEDGE into the lead of the team’s classification.
“The team work for me every day and this stage and I thank them a lot for that support,” Chaves said.
“Sometimes when you arrive so close (to the win) it is a little disappointing but it is racing.”
There was no disappointment from the team, sport director Matt White thrilled with the performance of the pint-sized climber.
“The idea today was obviously to try to win the stage with Esteban,” White said. “But we knew Dan Martin was going to be the in-form rider having won Il Lombardia and this was a climb that suited him very much so.”
“Esteban lined up Martin and just wasn’t good enough to go with him for the win but it was a very very impressive ride from Esteban today to get second and move into third overall.
“He has been getting better and better since we arrived in China and he has certainly come out of the Tour of Spain, his first grand tour, with great condition. The boys really rallied behind him during the day today, and all week, to protect him.”
As a secondary focus for the day, the team worked hard to position themselves for the team’s classification victory also.
“There was a few teams on the same time coming into today but we knew we had a lot of depth for this sort of climb,” White said.
“We won the team’s classification in the first race of the year at the Tour Down Under and now in the last race we have a very comfortable lead going into tomorrow’s stage.
“It shows a lot about the depth of our team that we can deliver at both ends of the season and it’s a nice way to bookend what’s been a sensational year.”
BMC Racing shouldered much of the responsibility to keep today’s break of four riders under control in successfully defending Philippe Gilbert in the red leader’s jersey.
Julien Vermote (OPQ), Graeme Brown (BEL), Boris Vallee (LTB) and Guillaume Boivin (CAN) established at the 25km mark and hovered with around three to four minutes advantage for much of their stint out in front.
Brown was the first of the quartet to be dropped on the penultimate climb, the remaining trio surviving until the final ascent to the line.
Ryder Hesjedal (GRS) then put in a brave solo move to take the pressure off teammate Martin in setting the pace up the climb before the diminished group came back together in time for the winning move.
Tomorrow, the Tour of Beijing and ORICA-GreenEDGE's 2015 season comes to a close with the final flat stage from Tiananmen Square to Bird’s Nest Piazza.