The 5th stage of the Tour of Turkey ended in another bunch sprint with Elia Viviani (Cannondale) managing to beat Mark Cavendish (Omega Pharma – Quickstep) for the stage honours. The ever impressive Kristian Sbaragli (MTN-Qhubeka) continued to show good form and took 3rd place in the sprint.
The stage as a whole was a great one for Team MTN-Qhubeka p/b Samsung as they came out and showed good intent right from the gun. The early break went after just 13km and Dennis van Niekerk (MTN-Qhubeka) would be one of the 9 aggressors to get away. The escapees built up a lead of just over 4 minutes before Cofidis and Quickstep began to reel them in.
With 8km to go the break was caught and straight away, Youcef Reguigui (MTN-Qhubeka) put in a solo attack. He was not able to get away but the effort really strung out the peloton. A Torku and Bardiani rider were next to attack at 7km to go and Merhawi Kudus (MTN-Qhubeka) would follow the 2 riders. The trio built up a 10″ lead but the GC threat that Kudus posed meant that Cofidis rode full gas to bring them back. With 4km to go they were eventually caught.
Racing towards the line the speed was really high and all looked to be in favour of Cavendish once again. Reguigui would put in an amazing effort over the final kilometers to bring Sbaragli from mid peloton and dropped him off on the wheel of Viviani with a kilometer to go. As the sprint opened up Viviani was able to just get ahead of Cavendish while Sbaragli finished hot on their heels in 3rd. Kudus would finish in 26th place and this was enough to also move him up one place on GC from 5th to 4th on a stage placings count back.
Rider – Kristian Sbaragli
We tried to create a selection over the last part of the stage with the team and it seemed to work well. All the guys worked really well together and we knew i could possibly get a podium after such a hard stage and we got it. The sprint was really fast and Viviani was strongest today but i am very happy with my 3rd place. Yesterday and today were my goal stages and so i am quite happy with my results.
Stage 6 – Bodrum > Selcuk (183.1km)
A pretty long stage that ends with another summit finish. Although the finishing climb isn’t all that long it is quite steep, more of a stage for the punchers than your outright climbers.
Stage 7 – Kusadasi > Izmir (144.8km)
An undulating course that shouldn’t pose too many problems for everyone left in the race at this point. A bug bunch sprint can be expected.
Stage 8 – Istanbul > Istanbul (121km)
Final stage is an 8 lap circuit race in Istanbul, should be a nice crowd spectacle ending in high speed sprint finish.
Presidential Cycling Tour of Turkey (Turkey) – (27 April – 4 May/UCI 2.HC) Team Lineup
Staff: Manel Lacambra (Directeur Sportif), Dr Jarrad van Zuydam (Doctor), Yvonne Houweling (Soigneur), Nico Beyens (Soigneyr), Heiko Heinrici (Mechanic), Andreas Beck-Watt (Mechanic)