Stage 6 of the Tour of Turkey was one of the decisive stages for the overall. Kristian Durasek (Lampre-Merida) took over the race lead after 184 km from Denizli to Selçuk. The stage was one by Pello Bilbao (Caja Rural-Seguros RGA). MTN-Qhubeka p/b Samsung’s Belgian climber Serge Pauwels made good work of his Cervélo S5 on the days final climb and finished in 13th place. In the overall he sits now 6th.
The race was animated by an early break of four. Malcolm Rudolph (Drapac), Rik Jans (Wanty-Group Goubert), Jarl Salomein (Topsport Vlaanderen-Baloise) and Ahmet Akdilek (Torku) were able to establish a lead of over 4 minutes, before the peloton started chasing.
Overnight race leader Davide Rebellin (CCC-Sprandi) put his team to work with MTN-Qhubeka p/b Samsung staying close at the front of the race. With the steep climb towards Selçuk it was never a question, that the break would be reeled in. The overall was in within reach for a few riders and it didn’t take long until the attacking started. In the end it was Bilbao who got the better of Miguel Angel Lopez (Astana), after going clear on the last two kilometers. Heiner Parra (Caja Rural-Seguros RGA) came in for third.
Behind the trio the race was split in several groups with Serge keeping close on the wheels of the favorites. He fought hard to stay in the group and eventually came home just 34 seconds down on the stage winner, thus managing to stay within the top10 of the Tour of Turkey.
Songezo Jim is another rider who managed to get through the day without damage. He still sits second in the KOM classification, just five points down on the leader, Pablo Valencia (Colombia).
Serge Pauwels – Riders
My teammates did a great job today in helping me for the final climb. Unfortunately, I did not have the legs today I was hoping for, so I had to defend rather than to attack. Tomorrow is another day and we will see what we can do.
Jean-Pierre Heynderickx – Sports Director
We saved our GC position today and it was good to stay up there with Serge. With two stages to go there are still a few options. We have been riding strong every day and today it was good for us, to save our legs for the final. Serge is still in the top10, which is really good for us. Additionally, Songezo is just 5 points short on the KOM jersey so we are also keeping our options in this classification.