BMC Racing Team's Philippe Gilbert timed his sprint to perfection Saturday, coming around Janse Van Rensburg (Team Giant-Shimano) on the final curve of a shortened Stage 2 of the Tour of Beijing to take the win and move into the overall lead.
Cycling Central

7 Apr 2015 - 5:20 PM  UPDATED 13 Apr 2015 - 3:34 PM

Gilbert climbed to victory on a shortened 111kilometre parcours at Yan Jia Ping Village, altered due to poor air quality in the morning at the stage's intended finish in Yanqing.

Gilbert was in his element on the punchy one kilometre, eight per cent climb to the new finish, overtaking a powerful van Rensburg (Giant-Shimano) in the last metres to the line to win the stage. Another former world champion in Lampre-Merida's Rui Costa, ran third.

"This morning it was raining and there was a lot of pollution in the air and we spoke together with the organisation and the UCI (commissaires) and everyone agreed that they should cancel the last 30km," explained Gilbert following a ceremonial finish in Yanqing.

"It was a good decision and the final was good for me… it was circumstance, I didn't choose this," he said. "I was just lucky to have a finish like this and to finish the job. I'm pretty happy today."

The victory installed Gilbert in the red leader's jersey, with the Belgian taking a five-second lead into Stage 3 over Janse van Rensburg with Costa a further two seconds in arrears. Overnight leader, Luka Mezgec (Giant-Shimano) finished in 41st place, 16 seconds down on Gilbert.

"We have a good team with some good guys," said Gilbert when asked if he could hold on to the overall lead. "We're going to try and control this but we'll take it day by day."

"It's very important for us to get WorldTour points. We're third by team ranking and we want to stay in this position."

Stage 2: 111km, Yan Jia Ping Village
1 Philippe Gilbert (BEL) BMC Racing Team
2 Reinardt Janse Van Rensburg (RSA) Team Giant-Shimano
3 Rui Alberto Faria Da Costa (POR) Lampre-Merida
4 Sergey Chernetski (RUS) Team Katusha
5 Daniel Martin (IRL) Garmin Sharp
6 Pieter Serry (BEL) Omega Pharma-QuickStep
7 Jesus Herrada Lopez (ESP) Movistar Team
8 Esteban Chaves Rubio (COL) Orica-GreenEDGE
9 Daryl Impey (RSA) Orica-GreenEdge
10 Mikael Chérel (FRA) Ag2r-La Mondiale

General Classification
1 Philippe Gilbert (BEL) BMC Racing Team
2 Reinardt Janse Van Rensburg (RSA) Team Giant-Shimano 0:00:05
3 Rui Alberto Faria Da Costa (POR) Lampre-Merida 0:00:07
4 Jesus Herrada Lopez (ESP) Movistar Team 0:00:11
5 Pieter Serry (BEL) Omega Pharma-QuickStep
6 Mikael Chérel (FRA) Ag2r-La Mondiale
7 Sergey Chernetski (RUS) Team Katusha
8 Rigoberto Uran Uran (COL) Omega Pharma-QuickStep
9 Warren Barguil (FRA) Team Giant-Shimano
10 Julian Arredondo Moreno (COL) Trek Factory Racing