Hushovd nabs first stage in Beijing

Norwegian cyclist Thor Hushovd won the first stage of the Tour of Beijing for BMC on Friday.

Hushovd, known for his sprinting, took advantage of the flat, 190-kilometer (118-mile) stage northeast of Beijing from Shunyi Olympic Rowing Park to Huairou Studio City.

After more than four hours’ racing, Hushovd took the red jersey in a bunch sprint with Luka Mezgec of Slovenia, who was second, and Nikolas Maes of Belgium, third.

"It was a good win and I surprised myself," the former world champion said. "I’ve had a hard couple of weeks after the worlds for the motivation but I still did the good training that I had to do, so to win here today couldn’t be better."

Hushovd said he had a perfect race and hoped to keep the lead.

"It was a large road and really fast with a slight downhill. I think I just had a perfect run. I was a bit behind and I got some slipstream and in the last couple of meters I was able to pass, I can’t remember who, but I got just in front of him," Hushovd added.

The five-stage tour ends on Tuesday, having added about 250 kilometers (155 miles) from 2012.