Francesco Gavazzi snatches a dramatic win on stage three of the Tour of Beijing
Last Updated: 11/10/12 2:19pm
Strong finish pays dividends for Gavazzi
Francesco Gavazzi snatched a dramatic victory on the third stage of the Tour of Beijing after hauling back a late attack from Edvald Boasson Hagen.
Team Sky rider Boasson Hagen had attacked solo with 3km to go on the uphill drag to the finish line, but Gavazzi (Astana) emerged in the dying seconds to peg back the Norwegian before pipping Daniel Martin (Garmin-Sharp) to a hard-fought triumph.
A visibly-disappointed Boasson Hagen clung on for third place on the day and Tony Martin (Omega Pharma - Quick-Step) retained his grip on the leader's jersey after finishing safely inside that select first group.
Stage three had seen the race travel 162.5km from Men Tou Gou to the Great Wall of China in Badaling and seven riders had lit up the action when they attacked early in the day.
Their lead had stretched to almost five minutes before Omega Pharma - Quick-Step roused the peloton into action behind, and their gap had been gradually diminished as they approached the final climb of the day.
Team Sky had assisted that chase, and were well positioned on the front when Christian Meier (Orica GreenEdge) became the last breakaway rider to be swept up in the final 10km.
As the road ramped upwards, Sylvain Georges (AG2R) and Igor Anton (Euskaltel) both tried their hands off the front, but it was Boasson Hagen's attempt which looked the most like sticking after he powered clear on the false flat, 3km from home.
The 25 year old quickly opened up a lead of over 10 seconds, and had rounded the final corner of the category-three ascent in the lead position, only to see his rivals emerge in hot pursuit.
Boasson Hagen battled on but ultimately floundered, and when he did so Gavazzi was perfectly placed to take full advantage, and secure his first victory of the season.