International Cycling

Gilbert wins stage 2 of Tour of Beijing

2014-10-11 11:44
Philippe Gilbert (File)

Beijing - Heavy air pollution forced Tour of Beijing organisers to slash the cycle race's second stage by about a quarter on Saturday following complaints from riders.

Belgium's Philippe Gilbert surged into the lead on the curtailed stage, which was planned to run 147.5 kilometres (92 miles) from Chongli to Yanqing on the outskirts of Beijing.

But after days of thick smog in the Chinese capital, organisers ended the stage 36 kilometres early at the 111-kilometre mark, "due to weather in Yanqing".

"Air quality in Beijing has been very poor in the past few days and this has spread to surrounding areas including Yanqing," read the race's official Twitter feed.

Saturday's hilly stage stretched through an area which is part of Beijing's bid to host the 2022 Winter Olympics.

The decision to reduce the race may concern football fans with heavyweights Brazil and Argentina due to clash in a "Super Clasico" friendly in Beijing later on Saturday.

Gilbert said riders had asked cycling body UCI (Union Cycliste Internationale) to reduce the race.

"We spoke together with the organisation, UCI, and everyone agreed that we should cancel the last 30K," he said. "I think it was a good decision."

"This means a lot, because a lot of times in the past ... they didn't listen to us," he added. "And today, we did a big step in our sport, I think."

The first stage took place Friday in rolling hills well to the north of the city, and under often blue skies with clear visibility.

But Saturday's course saw the riders make their way closer to the Chinese capital, which has been shrouded by pollution more than 20 times over recommended maximum levels.

The race, the final WorldTour event of the season, is being run for the last time, and has also been overshadowed by some top-level withdrawals including Tour of Spain winner Alberto Contador.

Stage 2: Chongli to Yan Jia Ping KOM

1. Philippe Gilbert (BMC/BEL) 2:29:02

2. Reinardt Janse van Rensburg (Giant-Shimano/RSA) same time

3. Rui Alberto Faria Da Costa (Lampre-Merida/POR) same time

4. Sergey Chernetski (Katusha/RUS) same time

5. Daniel Martin (Garmin-Sharp/IRL) same time

Overall standings:

1. Philippe Gilbert (BMC/BEL) 6 hours 51 mins 49 secs

2. Reinardt Janse van Rensburg (Giant-Shimano/RSA) plus 5 seconds

3. Rui Alberto Faria Da Costa (Lampre-Merida/POR) plus 7 seconds

4. Jesus Herrada Lopez (Movistar/ESP) plus 11 seconds

5. Pieter Serry (Omega Pharma-Quickstep/BEL) plus 11 seconds

Read more on:    philippe gilbert  |  cycling

What To Read Next


Read News24’s Comments Policy publishes all comments posted on articles provided that they adhere to our Comments Policy. Should you wish to report a comment for editorial review, please do so by clicking the 'Report Comment' button to the right of each comment.

Comment on this story
Comments have been closed for this article.
Live Video Streaming
Video Highlights
Sport Talk

Live scoring

Love 2 Meet
Sport24 on Twitter

Follow Sport24 news on Twitter

English Premiership flutter

Take Sport24's "expert" tips at your peril...


The 2017/18 Absa Premiership season is under way. Can Bidvest Wits defend their title? Will Soweto giants Kaizer Chiefs or Orlando Pirates emerge victorious? Or will the bookies' favourites, Mamelodi Sundowns, taste success for a record eighth time? Stay glued to Sport24 to find out!

Latest blogs

Besides the 'Big 3' of rugby, cricket and soccer, which of the 'smaller' sports in South Africa do you enjoy the most?

Twitter Follow Sport24 on Twitter

Facebook "Like" Sport24's Facebook page

WIN Enter and win with Sport24!

BlackBerry Stay in the loop on your BlackBerry

RSS Feeds Sport news delivered really simply.

There are new stories on the homepage. Click here to see them.