Tour of Beijing overall leader Nacer Bouhanni (FDJ) scored his second consecutive stage win on Sunday to extend his advantage at the top of the general classification.
Bouhanni once again out-paced his rivals in the bunch sprint, with Michael Matthews (Orica-GreenEdge) coming home in second and Alexey Tsatevich (Katusha) in third.
The day nearly didn’t end in the sprinters’ favour as last year’s winner Tony Martin (Omega Pharma-QuickStep) launched a late attack on the day’s final descent. The world time trial champion is a hard man to reel in, even when you have the firepower of the peloton at your disposal. However, reel him in they did – with just five kilometres to go.
An earlier six-man move had been caught in the final 30 kilometres of the climb-peppered stage, and was followed by a solo move by Adam Hansen (Lotto-Belisol) which was also reeled in before Martin attacked.
Bouhanni goes into the fourth and penultimate stage on Monday with an 11-second gap in the overall classification over Matthews, with Maxime Bouet (Ag2r) in third also at 11 seconds.
It’s highly likely that Bouhanni will enjoy his last day in the red leader’s jersey tomorrow, as the stage features a tough ascent to the line on the first category climb of Mentougou Miaofeng Mountain. Before that, though, the riders have to tackle another first category climb to Xian Ren Dong Village mid-way through the day.
Tour of Beijing 2013, stage three: Yanqing to Qiandiajian, 176km
1. Nacer Bouhanni (Fra) FDJ in 4-08-15
2. Michael Matthews (Aus) Orica-GreenEdge
3. Alexey Tsatevich (Rus) Katusha
4. Elia Viviani (Ita) Cannondale
5. Martin Kohler (Swi) BMC Racing
6. Borut Bozic (Slo) Astana
7. Tosh Van Der Sande (Bel) Lotto-Belisol
8. Jesus Herrada Lopez (Spa) Movistar
9. Romain Bardet (Fra) Ag2r La Mondiale
10. Matti Breschel (Den) Saxo-Tinkoff all same time
Overall classification after stage three
1. Nacer Bouhanni (Fra) FDJ in 13-28-18
2. Michael Matthews (Aus) Orica-GreenEdge at 11 secs
3. Maxime Bouet (Fra) Ag2r La Mondiale at 11 secs
4. Alexey Tsatevich (Rus) Katusha at 16 secs
5. Nikolas Maes (Bel) Omega Pharma-QuickStep at 16 secs
6. Matti Breschel (Den) Saxo-Tinkoff at 18 secs
7. Rui Costa (Por) Movistar at 19 secs
8. Benat Intxausti (Spa) Movistar at 19 secs
9. Ryota Nishizono (Jpn) Champion System at 19 secs
10. Alessandro Petacchi (Ita) Omega Pharma-QuickStep at 20 secs
The peloton attracts some local attention
Early escape group
Tony Martin attacks
Nacer Bouhanni wins