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Francesco Gavazzi wins stage 3 as Tony Martin leads 2012 Tour of Beijing

The Astana rider clips 10 seconds off the defending champion's lead with two stages remaining

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BEIJING (AFP) — Francesco Gavazzi (Astana) won stage 3 of the Tour of Beijing in dramatic style on Thursday, but remained in second place overall behind defending champion Tony Martin (Omega Pharma-Quick Step).

Gavazzi burst through in the final minutes of the stage to overtake Edvald Boasson-Hagen (Sky Procycling) and Dan Martin (Garmin-Sharp) on the finish line.

Boasson-Hagen had made a bold sprint for victory with just 4km remaining but could not maintain his lead over the chasing pack.

Martin then took the initiative and briefly led on the final dash, but it was Gavazzi who timed his sprint to perfection and claimed victory in the 162.5km race from China’s hilly western suburbs to the Great Wall at Badaling.

Gavazzi’s victory shaved just 10 seconds off Tony Martin’s overall lead of 50 seconds coming into Thursday’s race.

The Omega Pharma rider won stage 2 on Wednesday, cruising across the line with a 46-second lead.

With just two stages remaining in the five-day tour, the 27-year-old German, who took silver in the men’s individual time trial at the Olympics this year, remains in a commanding position to retain the title he won last year at China’s first WorldTour event.

The Tour of Beijing is the final event of the WorldTour.