Tour of Beijing Stage 4: Chicchi 6th, Martin Well Protected by OPQS
Omega Pharma - Quick-Step Cycling Team once again worked hard at the front to bring back the break of the day, helping to ensure the 165.5km Tour of Beijing Stage 4 came down to a field sprint, with Tony Martin not losing any time as the overall leader.
As the five rider break escaped at km 21, OPQS sent all men to the front to work hard for Tony Martin, and despite three Category 3 climbs in the stage, the pace of the peloton brought back all of the riders — including Jeremy Roy (FDJ-BigMat) ahead by himself in the final 10km — to give their sprinters a chance for victory and Tony Martin comfort in knowing all he needed to do was cross the line near the front.
Tony Martin did more than that, becoming the leadout man for Francesco Chicchi for the field sprint. Chicchi couldn't get position in the final meters as the sprint was a bit chaotic, and Marco Haller (Katusha Team) took the win ahead of Alessandro Petacchi (Lampre-ISD) and Elia Viviani (Liquigas-Cannondale). Chicchi was 6th.
Tony Martin keeps his overall lead on Francesco Gavazzi (Astana Pro Team) and Dan Martin (Garmin-Sharp) by 40" and 50", respectively. OPQS looks next to the final, 182.5km Stage 5 on Saturday. As everyone in the top 10 is within a minute of Tony Martin, expect plenty of attacks on a stage with two Category 2 climbs, a Category 3 climb, and Category 1 Si Zou Lou (5.4km, 5.9% average gradient) at km 153. The finish, in Pingu Century Square, is flat.