France's Bouhanni wins stage two in Tour of Beijing
French cyclist Nacer Bouhanni is pictured on October 7, 2012 in Paris
The French national champion in 2012 broke free with 500 metres of the race remaining, with only Ferrari threatening to catch him in his bid for glory.
But the 23-year-old crossed the line with a bike's length between himself and second-placed Ferrari, with the main pack of racers just behind.
Bouhanni will now wear the red jersey for the third stage of the race, a 176 kilometres route across Beijing's mountainous Great Wall district to the north of the urban area.
Ferrari, who rides for the Lampre-Merida team, is in sixth place in the overall standings, with Bouhanni, an FDJ.FR racer, at number one.
Stage two is the longest section of the Tour of Beijing at 201.5 kilometres, stretching from northwest to northeast Beijing.
Bouhanni crossed the finishing line just within five hours.
London Olympics silver medallist and defending Tour of Beijing champion Tony Martin of Germany is hoping to make it three wins in a row this year.
The event was established in 2011 and Martin won it both then and last year.
Also racing is Portugal's Alberto Rui Costa, who won at the World Championships in Tuscany last month.
Martin is currently 41st in the overall standings, while Rui Costa is 98th.