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German is superior in the sprint of a 30-man group at the end of a long and hard stage in which leader Berhane was put under pressure

Photo: Sirotti

ANDRÉ GREIPEL

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CHRISTOPHER JUUL-JENSEN

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LOTTO-DSTNY

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TOUR OF TURKEY

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25.04.2013 @ 13:58 Posted by Simon Knudstrup

Andre Greipel (Lotto-Belisol) once again showed that he is in blistering condition these days as he survived a number of hard climbs to stay in the 30-rider peloton which had to fight it out in a sprint at the end of today's fifth stage of the Tour of Turkey. He beat Matteo Trentin(Omega Pharma-Quick Step) and Nikias Arndt (Argos-Shimano) by several bike lengths to take a hugely convincing win.

 

Andre Greipel proved yesterday that he is much more than a pure sprinter and if anyone had still not learnt the lesson, he put his versatile talents on display again today. He was by far the fastest in the 30-rider group which battled for the stage win at the end of the fifth stage of the Tour of Turkey and took his second consecutive win.

 

The sprint came at the end of a very hard day in which the peloton split in two with more than 100 riders left behind in the early, hard part of the stage. Race leader Natnael Berhane (Europcar) was put under pressure by a dangerous 8-man move containing GC threats Angelo Pagani (Bardiani), Marc De Maar (UnitedHealthCare), Maxim Belkov (Katusha) and Robinson Chalapud (Colombia). With domestique resources severely limited due to the reduced size of the peloton, it was never certain that the break would be caught.

 

Belkov tried a solo move and for many kilometres the Russian time trial specialist was able to keep the peloton at bay despite the hard work from a number of sprint teams. As he hit some hard climbs in the final part of the race, he did, however, fade and with 8km to go he was caught.

 

The GC riders started to attack Berhane but the Eritrean was able to respond and instead it was Andrey Kashechkin (Astana), Andreas Schillinger (NetApp) and mountains leader Serguei Grechyn (Konya) who managed to escape. For a long time they held a gap of 10 seconds but with less than 2km to go, it was all back together.

 

This was signal for Filippo Pozzato (Lampre) to go on the attack and the Italian created a huge gap as he started the descent towards the finish line with 1km to go. Argos-Shimano hit the front to set up their sprinter Nikias Arndt and with 300 meters to go Greipel opened up the sprint. With 200 meters remaining he passed Pozzato and from then on no one came even close to the big German who took another convincing win.

 

Natnael Berhane keeps his lead but he faces a hard challenge tomorrow as the sixth stage has a summit finish. He has been under pressure the last two days and he will have to dig deep once again to keep the lead before the last two sprint stages.

 

Starting at 13.15 you can follow the action on CyclingQuotes.com/live.

 

A hard start

The 183km stage from Marmaris to Turgutreis was the longest of the race and contained some very hard climbs in the first half. Last year a similar stage was won by Andrea Di Corrado from a breakaway and so many teams wanted to go on the attack.

 

The aggressive racing had its impact on the peloton which split in two in the opening part of the race and more than 100 riders were left behind in the second group. For many kilometres the front peloton was only around 2 minutes ahead of their chasers but as the race hit some flatter roads with 70km remaining the seconds group gave up and the gap increased to more than 10 minutes.

 

A dangerous 8-man group

For a moment a dangerous move with 6th placed Yoann Bagot (Cofidis), mountains leader Serguei Grechyn (Konya) and Serge Pauwels (Omega Pharma-Quick Step) went clear but Europcar closed down the move. Instead it was another threatening escape that went clear as Pagani, De Maar, Chalapud, Belkov, Christopher Juul Jensen (Saxo-Tinkoff), Sebastien Duret (Bretagne), Guillaume Levarlet (Cofidis) and Nazim Bakirci (Konya) were allowed to escape.

 

Pagani was less than a minute behind Pagani and hence he was the virtual leader as the gap grew to more than a minutes. In the peloton Berhane's only domestique Bjorn Thurau was assisted by the sprint teams as Greipel's Lotto-Belisol, Arndt's Argos Shimano, Gerald Ciolek's MTN and Daniel Schorn's NetApp-Endura joined him at the front.

 

The escapees start to attack each other

The presence of Pagani meant that the cooperation in the front move was bad and so the riders started to attack each other. Duret was the first to accelerate after 52km and for a moment the group was split into two with Duret, Juul Jensen, Belkov, and Levarlet getting clear. De Maar gave up and was picked up b the peloton while Chalapud, Bakirci and Pagani managed to get back to the leaders after a hard chase.

 

With 47km to go Duret tried once again but again he was successful. Instead a countermove by Belkov had more luck and the Russian soloed off the front while he was chased by Juul Jensen, Levarlet and Bakirci. Once again the chasers regrouped but they were never able to get back to the lone Russian.

 

Impressive performance by strong Russian

In an impressive display of power the relentless attacker from Katusha managed to build up a gap to the peloton of almost 3.30 despite the hard chase by no less than 5 teams while his former companions continued to lose ground. Meanwhile, Nicolas Edet's Cofidis and Pier Paolo De Negri's Vini Fantini teams joined the chase work.

 

The chasers were gradually caught by the peloton and with 18km to go Belkov was now the lone rider ahead of the main group. However, the teams had not much energy left and it was now left to the Cofidis team to do the work.

 

With 14km to go they suddenly stopped their effort, and as the peloton almost came to a standstill it looked promising for Belkov. However, a number of smaller climbs took their toll and as Lotto, Argos and Jonathan Hivert's Sojasun started to chase, the gap came down rapidly and with 8km to go it was all back together.

 

This was the signal for the GC favourites to start attacking Berhane. Both Brice Feillu (Sojasun) and David De La Fuente (Konya) had a dig but the danger increased when Cameron Meyer (Orica-GreenEdge) put down the hammer. With 2nd places Kevin Seeldrayers (Astana), De La Fuente  and Pauwels in his wheel he opened up a small gap and a clearly struggling Berhane had to dig really deep to close it down. At the top of the small climb, it was mission accomplished for the Eritrean and instead Kashechkin, Grechyn and Schillinger moved clear in what was the start of a thrilling final part of the stage.

 

Result:

1. Andre Greipel

2. Matteo Trentin

3. Nikias Arndt

4. Luca Paolini

5. Stefan Van Dijk

 

General classification:

1. Nathanel Berhane

2. Kevin Seeldrayers +0.10

3. Mustafa Sayar +0.14

4. Maxime Mederel +0.26

5. Rory Sutherland +0.34

6. Yoann Bagot

7. Cameron Meyer

8. Florian Guillou +0.38

9. Darwin Atapuma +0.40

10. Nicolas Edet +0.43

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