The 4th stage of the Tour of Turkey panned out just as most expected it to. The tough climb that came with just 10km to go saw a reduced group arrive over the top and then go on to contest the sprint. Andre Greipel (Lotto-Soudal) was quickest with Daniele Colli (Nippo-Vini Fantini) 2nd and Daniele Ratto (United Healthcare) 3rd.
It was Team MTN-Qhubeka p/b Samsung’s plan to make the racing hard today and the boys followed the procedure well. After an initial 6 rider move was brought back early on, 5 riders then went away. Once they hit a 45″ lead, Natnael Berhane jumped from the peloton to bridge the gap. The Eritrean would make the crossing putting 6 riders out front with 70km to go.
The escapees built up a lead of 2’30” before CCC Sprandi, Lotto-Soudal and Etixx-Quickstep began the chase. With 2 uncategorised coming in the final 25km’s, it was up to the teams who had sprinters that could climb to set the pace. The injection of pace came from Tinkoff-Saxo and United Healthcare, resulting in the break being caught halfway up the final climb. It was then the turn of Serge Pauwels to put down the hammer as he attacked with 4 other riders.
The 5 aggressors had a 11″ gap and 10km in front of them. With Serge and Jay McCarthy both threats to the GC lead and in the break, CCC Sprandi assumed the chase, later assited by Lotto-Soudal. The pressure up front ensured nobody regained contact on the descent, leaving just 40 odd riders to sprint for the win after the final break was caught with 1km to go. Kristian Sbaragli was in a good position with 500m to go but it seemed the riders in front of him just never started their sprint. The Italian would cross the line in 8th position.
Kristian Sbaragli – Rider
I was feeling quite good today but I was closed in with 300m to go. Youcef helped to put me in a really good position for the final and the team did a great race all day, making the race hard which saw Cavendish getting dropped. Unfortunately I couldn’t get a top result today but tomorrow is another opportunity for me and I will do my best to get a good result for my team who rode superbly today.