Dan Martin has secured victory in stage four of the Tour of Beijing and has moved to within three seconds of the overall race lead.
Martin timed his attack to perfection on the summit finish and sprinted clear of all his rivals with around 400 metres to go. Johan Esteban Chaves, Philippe Gilbert and Rui Costa all finished two seconds behind the winner but with the four bonus seconds Gilbert picked up, it means the BMC rider holds onto the race lead.
- Team Astana could face fine for Tour of Beijing withdrawal
- Bradley Wiggins will chase world hour record in June, confirms Sir Dave Brailsford
- Giro d'Italia & Tour de France double is possible says Vegni
Gilbert vs Martin
Martin will have to aim to pick up bonus seconds in the intermediate sprints in the final stage tomorrow because the course is very flat with a sprint finish likely to happen.
If anyone is going to beat Gilbert, though, it is Martin because of how close behind he is. In my opinion, Chaves is too far behind and to make up nine seconds will be very hard.
Today's stage saw the riders take on six categorised climbs and was it was said to be the one that would determine which riders were able to win the overall race. It proved to be the case with Martin taking on Gilbert and the two riders will battle it out again tomorrow.
The Irishman has had an impressive season and winning the Tour of Beijing would top off a great year.
The Garmin-Sharp rider won the II Lombardia, finished second in La Fleche Wallonne and came seventh in the Vuelta a Espana.
I can see the final stage being very tactical and I think it will be hard for Martin to gain bonus time because Gilbert and BMC will be watching his every move.
Stage four result
1 Dan Martin (Ire) Garmin-Sharp, 4:12:14
2 Johan Esteban Chaves (Col) Orica-GreenEdge, +2
3 Philippe Gilbert (Bel) BMC Racing, same time
4 Rui Costa (Por) Lampre-Merida, st
5 Julian Arredondo (Col) Trek Factory Racing, +10
6 Rinaldo Nocentini (Ita) Ag2r-La Mondiale, st
7 Warren Barguil (Fra) Giant-Shimano, st
8 Rigoberto Uran (Col) Omega Pharma – Quick-Step, st
9 Sergei Chernetckii (Rus) Katusha, st
10 David Lopez (Esp) Team Sky, +13
1 Philippe Gilbert (Bel) BMC Racing, 15:19:47
2 Dan Martin (Ire) Garmin-Sharp, +3
3 Johan Esteban Chaves (Col) Orica-GreenEdge, +9
4 Rui Costa (Por) Lampre-Merida, +11
5 Sergei Chernetckii (Rus) Katusha, +23
6 Warren Barguil (Fra) Giant-Shimano, st
7 Julian Arredondo (Col) Trek Factory Racing, st
8 Rinaldo Nocentini (Ita) Ag2r-La Mondiale, st
9 Rigoberto Uran (Col) Omega Pharma – Quick-Step, st
10 Pieter Serry (Bel) Omega Pharma – Quick-Step, +26
Do YOU want to write for GiveMeSport? Get started today by signing-up and submitting an article HERE: https://www.givemesport.com/writeforgms