Irish eyes are smiling with one-two – Tour of Beijing – Stage 3

A captivating third stage of the Tour of Beijing today provided a rare moment in world cycling when the final breakaway of the day — Irishmen Nicolas Roche (AG2R La Mondiale) and Philip Deignan (Radioshack) and Sky Pro Cycling’s Chris Froome — held off a rapidly closing peloton to fill the podium. But whilst it was a special moment for them, it made little impact overall on the race as the net effect was that Roche and Deignan alone managed to claw back just a single second on general classification from race leader Tony Martin (HTC-Highroad). And for most observers, and indeed for Martin himself, that seems to be the bike race done and dusted. “It was the most difficult stage for sure but I expect the next two days to be for the sprinters.” Martin said after receiving the Tour leader’s prized red jersey for the third day in succession. “I am confident that we can now defend the jersey until Sunday.” But there was still plenty to celebrate for stage-winner Roche. As there would have been for UCI President Pat McQuaid who already had plenty of reasons to be happy about the WorldTour’s expansion into Asia even before two of his own countrymen were able to go one-two in a stage finish. “Definitely I think it is my best win. I am so happy and delighted to be here in China,” Roche said. “To win my first pro tour event is very special. This is the stage win I have been waiting two years for. It is such a great moment — those few seconds when you put your hands in the air
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