Tony Martin claims Tour of Beijing crown as Steve Cummings wins finale

Martin took a huge lead on stage 2 and never relinquished it

BEIJING (AFP) — Steve Cummings (BMC Racing) capped off a brilliant year for British cycling by taking the final stage of the Tour of Beijing on Saturday, but Tony Martin (Omega Pharma-Quick Step) defended the title that he won last year.

Cummings claimed victory on day five of cycling’s last tour of the season by outsprinting Ryder Hesjedal (Garmin-Sharp) in the final run-in. The stage started at Changping Stadium, north of the city center, and finished 182.5km later at Pinggu, in Beijing’s eastern suburbs.

The 31-year-old Cummings suffered an injury-plagued start to a season that has seen compatriot Bradley Wiggins (Sky Procycling) win the Tour de France and Britain dominate in cycling at the London 2012 Olympics.

But he had the strength to hold off a powerful challenge from Hesjedal, winner of this year’s Giro d’Italia. The pair finished 17 seconds in front of third-placed Edvald Boasson Hagen (Sky).

Boasson Hagen’s finish helped him seal third place in the overall standings in Beijing, behind Francesco Gavazzi (Astana) and champion Martin.

Martin cemented his victory on the second day of racing on Wednesday, when he finished 46 seconds in front after making a breathtaking dash for the finishing line.

He has led on the overall standings throughout the remainder of the tour to reclaim the title he won last year — China’s first WorldTour event.

The Omega Pharma racer took silver in the men’s individual time trial at the Olympics this year.