BEIJING (AFP) — Tyler Farrar (Garmin-Sharp) won the third stage of the Tour of Beijing on Sunday, ending a season-long victory drought at the final WorldTour race of the year.
The longest stage of the tour, the 176km stage served up tricky climbs followed by rapid descents, and Farrar came out of nowhere near the end to take the victory ahead of Luka Mezgec (Giant-Shimano) and Nikolas Maes (Omega Pharma-Quick Step).
“I had the legs, but there was definitely some luck involved there because it was a hard day and I just barely made it over the last climb and I had a real hard time getting back to the front of the race,” he said.
“I think I came out of that last corner really way too far back and I just got lucky that a hole opened up and I was able to go for it.”
It was the first win of the year for Farrar, who said it “was a long time coming this season.”
“It was a year of seconds and thirds and fourths so to finally win so close … I’m really happy.” he said.
Philippe Gilbert (BMC Racing Team), who finished 37th on the day, in the same time as Farrar, remained atop the overall standings after winning Saturday’s stage two, which was cut by about a quarter as Beijing’s notorious pollution soared.
But wind helped disperse smog on the city’s outskirts on Sunday, easing conditions for the riders.
“Today was better. We were able to breathe almost normally,” said Gilbert, the 2012 world champion, who sits five seconds up on Reinardt Janse Van Rensburg (Giant-Shimano) with another former world champ, Rui Costa (Lampre-Merida), third at seven seconds.
“It was not an easy day today. But the team controlled well and then at the end we also got help from some sprinter teams.”
He was hesitant to predict his fortunes for stage four on Monday, a 157km course which includes a climb of more than 12km.
“There will be attacks from everywhere, so we will see,” he said. “There’s not so many good climbers here, so if I lose the jersey I can also stay in a good position and still have points awarded.”