Tour of Beijing: Thor Hushovd sprints into leader's jersey with victory on stage one
Last Updated: 12/10/13 12:24pm
Thor Hushovd used his supreme power to defeat his rivals
Thor Hushovd sprinted into the leader's red jersey at the Tour of Beijing by winning stage one in Huairou Studio City.
The 35-year-old BMC rider timed his burst for the line perfectly to pip Luka Mezgec (Argos-Shimano) into second place and Nikolas Maes (Omega Pharma - Quick-Step) into third.
After picking up 10 bonus seconds for the victory, Hushovd now leads the general classification by three seconds from Willem Wauters (Vacansoleil-DCM), who was in the day's breakaway and collected seven bonus seconds at intermediate sprints.
Hushovd said afterwards: "It was a good win. I surprised myself because it has been a hard couple of weeks after the worlds for motivation, but I still did the training I had to do and to win here today couldn't be better.
'Worked out perfectly'
"When it was 20km to go, the break still has more than two minutes and then I was a bit scared. We were pulling a lot - BMC did a great job today. Then it was up to me to do a good sprint and it worked out perfectly.
"At least, I am going to try to keep it [the leader's jersey] tomorrow, and then it is two hard stages and we see what happens."
The opening stage of the five-day race took the riders on a flat, 190.5km route starting in Shunyi, north-east of Beijing city centre.
Four riders - Wauters, Sander Cordeel (Lotto-Belisol), Davide Vigano (Lampre-Merida), Ryota Nishizono (Champion System) - broke away straight from the starting flag and built up a gap of almost nine minutes.
Cordeel tries solo
The flat parcours worked against them, though, and after the advantage had fallen to under two minutes going into the final 50km, the group began to split apart.
Cordeel eventually went into a solo lead and stretched the gap back out to a threatening 2'40" with just over 20km to go, but the peloton soon spotted the danger and stepped up the chase, finally catching the Belgian just under 5km from home.
The sprint trains then took over and it was Alessandro Petacchi (Omega Pharma - Quick-Step) and Michael Matthews (Orica-GreenEdge) who were the first to launch their bids for glory.
Mezgec responded and looked set to take the win, but Hushovd had been deftly sheltering in the Slovenian's slipstream and swiftly rounded him late on to win by half a wheel and claim his ninth win of the season.
Stage one result
1 Thor Hushovd (Nor) BMC, 4:20:34
2 Luka Mezgec (Slo) Argis-Shimano, same time
3 Nikolas Maes (Bel) Omega Pharma - Quick-Step, st
4 Alessandro Petacchi (Ita) Omega Pharma - Quick-Step, st
5 Michael Matthews (Aus) Orica-GreenEdge, st
6 Enrique Sanz (Spa) Movistar, st
7 Rudiger Selig (Ger) Katusha, st
8 Nacer Bouhanni (Fra) FDJ, st
9 Jonas Vangenechten (Bel) Lotto-Belisol, st
10 Roberto Ferrari (Ita) Lampre-Merida, st
1 Thor Hushovd (Nor) BMC, 4:20:24
2 Willem Wauters (Bel) Vacansoleil-DCM, +3sec
3 Luka Mezgec (Slo) Argis-Shimano, +4
4 Nikolas Maes (Bel) Omega Pharma - Quick-Step, +6
5 Ryota Nishizono (Jap) Champion System, +9
6 Alessandro Petacchi (Ita) Omega Pharma - Quick-Step, +10
7 Michael Matthews (Aus) Orica-GreenEdge, st
8 Enrique Sanz (Spa) Movistar, st
9 Rudiger Selig (Ger) Katusha, st
10 Nacer Bouhanni (Fra) FDJ, st